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) – an agency of the European Union – 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 300 metres of a wetland.
BASC believes this 300m ‘buffer’ could make it illegal to use lead over as much as 90 per cent 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 in to 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 per cent 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 landmass of the UK would be affected, meaning it could be illegal to use lead shot over 90 per cent 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 unfairly 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.
“BASC has robustly challenged previous attempts to impose restrictions on the use of lead shot. We will continue to press for the use of evidence-based policy making and modern methods of risk assessment to be used in Europe as well as in the UK.”