The British government has extended the period for public debate on genetically modified crops by three months and extended the budget for the consultation process by £500,000 (US$798,740).

Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, had at first refused to allow more time or money for the debate on whether GM crops should be grown in the UK, reported the Guardian. This despite the fact that Beckett received a letter from Professor Malcolm Grant, the chairman of the commission set up by the government to organise the debate saying he had not been given enough time or resources to complete the task by the end of June.

Environmental groups have claimed that the government wanted the debate over and done with before results of farm-scale trials of GM crops became known in July.

Yesterday [Wednesday], Beckett admitted “it would now be impracticable for the steering board to deliver its report by the end of June” in a letter to Grant, quoted by the Guardian.