The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the EU?s regulatory authority on chemicals, has commissioned a study on the use of lead shot which it says could be used to evaluate the costs and benefits of restrictions on the use of lead shot for hunting across the EU.

Lead shot is widely used for shooting in the UK but is prohibited for use over wetlands in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In England and Wales lead shot is prohibited for the shooting of wildfowl and may not be used on the foreshore and certain designated wetland sites.

The ECHA has asked for data on the manufacture, cost and use of lead shot and alternatives.

Europe-wide responses will be collated by the European umbrella organisation FACE, the Federation of European Hunting Associations, which represents some seven million hunters, in conjunction with international representative bodies for trade and target shooting.

The UK?s shooting, trade and countryside management organisations are working together via FACE UK to collect and submit information to the ECHA via FACE.

The ECHA study was commissioned after the European Commission and member states asked Sweden to include lead shot in proposals to restrict the use of lead and lead compounds.

Dr. Conor O?Gorman from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation is the current secretary of FACE UK.

He said: ?This could prove to be a very real threat to the use of lead shot.”

“The UK?s membership and trade organisations are working together through FACE UK to ensure that we can provide a clear, credible and coherent response to this study, which will be used to inform policy decisions.”

“The UK already has a range of legal restrictions on lead shot designed to protect wildfowl, wading birds and sensitive wetlands.”

“It remains vital that all UK shooters ensure they comply with those restrictions.”

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