BASC-2014THE UK’s largest shooting organisation has helped defeat plans to ban lead ammunition from all Olympic competition.

Members of a global conservation organisation – the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – wanted the International Olympic Committee to force athletes to replace lead with ‘non-toxic alternatives’ in time for Tokyo 2020.

A clause to this effect was included in a motion tabled ahead of the IUCN’s world congress in Hawaii this September.

While IUCN policies are not legally binding, they are a policy-driver for the organisation’s 1,300 member organisations, which includes DEFRA and other government agencies across the world. IUCN policies also influence its international network of 16,000 experts.

But the Olympic clause of Motion 090 has now been removed after extensive lobbying by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and FACE – the European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation.

BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “This attempt to ban lead ammunition for all Olympic shooting by 2020 was submitted to the IUCN by conservation charities without any apparent consultation with the International Olympic Committee or the International Shooting Sport Federation, which is the sole controlling body of International Amateur Shooting Sports at international and worldwide levels of competition.

“I am delighted that the relevant clauses have been dropped from the revised motion text following our intervention.

“BASC’s position on lead ammunition continues to be ‘no sound evidence, no change’, and we will vigorously oppose any attempts to place disproportionate and unsubstantiated restrictions on the use of lead ammunition for sporting shooting.”

Dr Conor O’Gorman, BASC’s policy development manager and a member of the IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods specialist group, said: “This was a back-door attempt to foist a lead ban on sport at a worldwide level; I am proud that BASC has led from the front to block this part of the motion.

“Our evidence-based arguments against an unsubstantiated ban on the use of lead ammunition for Olympic shooting have been listened to and acted on.

“Competitive target shooting is confined to small and contained areas. These areas can be managed following evidence-based risk management practices. The Scottish government actually lifted its lead shot ban in wetlands for the coastal shooting venue at the 2014 Commonwealth Games on the basis that the mitigation measures in place would be effective.”

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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