Lead ammunition update and NI Protocol

Countryside Alliance Ireland understands that in the context of Brexit, it appears that the REACH Regulation continues to apply to Northern Ireland.

This is because Art 5.4 of the ‘Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland’ included in the EU-UK agreement stipulates that the ‘provisions of Union law listed in Annex 2 to this Protocol shall also apply, under the conditions set out in that Annex, to and in the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland’ (emphasis added). Point 23 of Annex 2 includes REACH.

This we believe will mean the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) as regards lead in gunshot in or around wetlands.

CAI has written to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to find out what implications this may have on our current legislation. We had touched on this subject in our meeting with Minister Poots in September but as the Brexit deal had not been agreed he was not in a position to comment on the issue.

While most of the EU’s proposals are already in place this could see the introduction of 100m buffer zones around wetlands banning the “carrying” of lead shot in your possession.

Depending on the Departments interpretation of the EU’s regulations this may result in changes for both game and clay shooters in Northern Ireland.

As a reminder, see FACE EU’s article on what the new regulation means: https://www.face.eu/2020/12/what-does-the-new-regulation-on-banning-lead-shot-over-wetlands-mean-for-europes-hunters/

We are also aware that on the 3rd February ECHA’s has published its proposal for further restrictions on the use of lead in ammunition for hunting, outdoor sports shooting and fishing. Its report and annex conclude that restrictions would be justified based on risks to environment and human health. The European Commission (EC) requested ECHA to prepare these proposals back in July 2019

With respect to lead sold and used in hunting, sports shooting and other outdoor shooting, ECHA proposed the following:

  • A ban on the sale and use of lead shot for hunting with a five-year transition period and the option for Member States to derogate for sports shooting when releases into the environment are minimised.
  • A ban on the use of lead in rifle bullets with transitional periods:
    • 18 months for any centre-fire calibre equal to and above 5.6mm
    • 5 years for calibres less than 5.6mm centrefire (and rimfire in general). Derogations for continued use, if releases to the environment are minimised, i.e. when sports shooting ranges are equipped with bullet traps.

Military and other non-civilian uses of lead ammunition – such as by police, security and customs forces – are not included in the scope of the investigation. Indoor uses of lead ammunition are also excluded.

Today’s proposals arrive just one week after the publishing of the lead shot over wetlands’ restriction under REACH, having only received support from 52% of Members of the European Parliament, with some opposition at Council level.

Further details can be found here

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