The European Union has taken a major step towards a full ban on lead shot despite protests from shooting groups and enthusiasts, say Countryside Alliance Ireland.
The European Commission has taken the first step in this process by writing a letter to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), asking them to prepare draft regulations to restrict the use of lead in ammunition and fishing weights in terrestrial environments such as woodland and mountains.
The agency published a report in September 2018 that concluded there was sufficient evidence of a risk from lead in weights and ammunition to justify new regulation.
The report claimed that restricting the use of lead in ammunition would “reduce the mortality of an estimated one to two million birds, such as pheasants and partridges, that may inadvertently swallow the lead shot, or scavenge or prey on lead-poisoned birds in the terrestrial environment”.
The study added that it would also reduce health risks to a significant population of hunters and their families who frequently eat game meat killed with lead shot or bullets.
The proposed regulations are expected to take roughly 15 months to develop.
Responding to the news, FACE, the European umbrella group for hunting organisations, said it does not support a general ban on lead in ammunition.
It said in a statement: “From FACE’s perspective, any further measures beyond lead shot over wetlands must be proportional with the demonstrated risks to wildlife populations and human health via game consumption.”
To view the current legislation in Northern Ireland, log onto www.caireland.org