Lead buffer zones chal­lenged

Sporting Shooter - - News -

BASC has told a Euro­pean con­sul­ta­tion on the use of lead am­mu­ni­tion that too broad a def­i­ni­tion of a ‘wet­land’ would dam­age shoot­ing in the UK. The Euro­pean Chem­i­cals Agency (ECHA) this week closed its fi­nal pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the use of lead shot over wet­lands.

The pro­posal is to re­strict the use of lead over wet­lands or where spent shot would land within a wet­land. ECHA is also con­sid­er­ing a ban on lead shot within 300m of a wet­land. BASC be­lieves this 300m buffer zone could make it il­le­gal to use lead over as much as 90% of the UK.

BASC sci­en­tific ad­vi­sor Matt El­lis said: “Whether ECHA com­mit­tees rec­om­mend an ex­plicit 300m buffer around wet­lands or not, the word­ing of the re­stric­tion would en­act a de facto buffer due to the re­quire­ment that lead shot not fall into wet­lands.

“To give us an in­di­ca­tion of how this may af­fect the UK, we an­a­lysed land and wa­ter cour­ses in North Wales and this found that more than 90% of land was within 300m of wet­land.

“Given the es­ti­mate of the land af­fected in North Wales, it is likely that a sim­i­lar pro­por­tion of the to­tal land mass of the UK would be af­fected, mean­ing it could be il­le­gal to use lead shot over 90% of the UK.

“In our sub­mis­sion to the ECHA con­sul­ta­tion, we have ar­gued that the un­in­tended con­se­quences of this re­stric­tion would have a sig­nif­i­cant ad­verse im­pact on the 600,000 peo­ple who shoot in the UK. For ex­am­ple, there are 24,000 clay pi­geon shoot­ing providers in the UK, pro­vid­ing 3.9 mil­lion gun days to the 400,000 UK shoot­ers that shoot clays at least once a year.

“Many clay shoot­ing providers are di­ver­si­fied farms, recre­ational fish­ing venues or out­door ac­tiv­ity cen­tres and so tend to be sur­rounded by lakes, ponds and ditches. They would be caught up in the loose ter­mi­nol­ogy of this re­stric­tion.”

John Dry­den, chair of BASC’s wild­fowl­ing com­mit­tee, said: “If ECHA’s re­stric­tion is im­posed, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple shoot­ing clays and quarry other than water­fowl would be ad­versely af­fected.”

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