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HSE requests more time for its review on lead ban

Although the Health and Safety Executive launched its consultation in 2022, it has now asked to extend the timeline for the proposed ban.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has requested that the timeline be extended for the final stage of its lead ammunition review in England, Wales and Scotland. The move comes following the HSE consultation in December on the socio-economic assessment of restriction proposals. More than 8,000 submissions were received, including at least 5,000 from BASC members. 

The HSE has submitted a request to the Government asking for more time to sort through relevant information and evidence, before it can propose its recommendations to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. A new timeline is being drawn up and will be published following consultation with policy leads, such as Defra and the Scottish and Welsh. 

Extending the timeline for further review may be beneficial for the shooting community. In recent months industry campaigners and expert evidence have often apparently been ignored on related public consultations. Quick verdicts have been seen in cases such as the Scottish government’s decisions to press ahead with the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill in the face of strong conservational evidence of the damage it could do with minimal time for review. 

The HSE launched its initial consultation on proposals to restrict the outdoor use of lead ammunition in 2022. The six-month consultation received robust evidence-based challenges from BASC and more than 2,000 further responses from stakeholders. 

Terry Behan, BASC’s east of England director, said: “Alongside the subsequent socio-economic assessment consultation, the HSE dropped plans to ban lead airgun pellets and conceded that target shooting with lead rifle ammunition should be allowed to continue at approved ranges. However, it continued to press for restrictions on nearly every other outdoor recreational use of lead ammunition in England, Wales and Scotland. 

“BASC challenged each proposal, with robust evidence. Our response considered every shooting discipline, both live quarry and target. We will provide an update as soon as we have the revised timeline from the HSE.” 

The latest public consultation, which ended at midnight on 10 December, focused on reducing the transition period away from lead shot and the potential inclusion of lead rifle ammunition for live quarry in the ban. The shooting community has been campaigning for a voluntary transition away from lead shot and single-use plastics for live quarry shooting over a five-year period.