In order to inform decisions to be made about commercial exploitation of GM crops the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC) has proposed that there should be a public debate. Although we have some doubts about aspects of the proposal, particularly whether the debate will engage the wider public and how conclusive it will prove, we are supportive of it. At the very least it will enable views to be aired, and the public to be better informed. We call on those with entrenched views and vested interests, and the media, to approach the debate in a responsible manner. In order to improve the quality of information provided to the public we echo the AEBC's call for further independently conducted and independently evaluated scientific research to be funded by Government. Finally we acknowledge that decisions about the commercial planting of GM crops will be made in the context of the legal framework agreed within the European Union.