The new ruling will ban lead from within 100m of any body of water, no matter what size, and all peatlands
The proposed EU REACH committee restrictions against lead shot voted through on 3 September will be ratified by early 2021 and become law in 2023 in EU member states. The UK government may decide then to adopt the regulation depending on how it decides to legislate for REACH related laws.
REACH (European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) monitors and assesses the risks posed to the environment and human health by hazardous substances and chemicals.
BASC has described the EU’s restriction as ‘utterly unenforceable’ and a risk to the voluntary transition to sustainable ammunition taken forward by the main shooting organisations and supported by Defra.
Currently lead shot is banned on the foreshore in England and Wales and wetlands in Scotland and it is an offence to shoot any wildfowl or waders with lead shot at any location in England and Wales. However BASC points out that this new law would condemn shooters as law breakers if they “fail to spot a puddle in the field”.
Dr Matt Ellis, BASC’s head of science and chair of the FACE ammunition working group, describes the new restrictions as “utterly unenforceable.”
Shooting Times contributor Alasdair Mitchell commented: “How utterly typical of EU attitudes to personal freedoms – they ban first and define later.”
A timely change
Shooting Times contributor and wildfowler Richard Negus said: “It is a timely change in my opinion. However this is legislation that could well affect nearly every shoot in the land. There is still a lot of misunderstanding over guns and their compatibility with steel shot.
Another keen wildfowler Simon Garnham who also writes for Shooting Times commented: “I am very concerned about this development. I’ve seen no evidence to prove that current regulations in Great Britain and Northern Ireland are not already satisfactorily reducing the risk to wildfowl. This appears to be another opportunity to restrict shooting with no scientific basis. The existing regulations provide protection for wetland areas and, with the move away from plastic wadding, wildfowlers are ahead of the game already. It’s legislation for the sake of it at a time when life is restricted enough as far as I’m concerned.”
Readers can find clear advice on whether their existing guns are suitable for steel shot here.