BASC has welcomed the decision of the Austrian Ministry of the Environment to stop pursuing a phasing out of lead ammunition.
The Austrian government had been urged to phase out lead ammunition because of the pollution caused by lead ammunition at rifle ranges, the dangers to raptors feeding on carrion and the potential contamination of venison.
After considering the proposal to phase out lead ammunition the Environment Ministry has announced that it will not proceed for the following reasons:
• There is a lack of ammunition with similar or better performance than lead
• The change would have a massive economic impact on industry which would require 15 years to get rid of current stocks of lead ammunition.
• There are no alternative loads for a whole range of calibres, as a result 30% of privately owned firearms in Austria can only be used with lead ammunition
• This would have the damaging effect of reducing the value of private property.
Other arguments are estimates of a threefold increase in price of ammunition and the fact that lead dispersed in the environment through ammunition represents only two per cent, the rest being caused by the illegal disposal of car batteries.
Alan Jarrett, chairman of BASC, the UK’s largest shooting organisation with a membership of over 140,000, said: “We are pleased that Austria has decided to call a halt to these plans. Thorough consideration has obviously been given to the decision and the right outcome has been achieved.”