While the UK firearms market might not be nearly as large as the United States, there are still a ton of hunters, collectors, recreational, and sport shooters who reside in the country who rely on quality ammunition just like we do here in the States, however, a new Consultation dossier on REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals) legislation has been put out that seeks to ban all lead shot in all habitats due to concerns surrounding the risks involved using the lead shot in wetlands and other habitats.
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UK Government Proposes a Flat-Out Ban on Lead Shot in Ammunition
On 29 April 2021, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as the Agency for UK REACH received a request under Article 69(1) of UK REACH from the Defra Secretary of State, with the consent of the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government, to prepare an Annex 15 restriction dossier assessing the risks to the environment and human health from lead in ammunition (projectiles). In the European Union (EU), a restriction has been adopted for lead in gunshot over wetlands (January 2021), and a restriction for lead in shot, bullets and fishing weights is in progress. This Annex 15 dossier prepared by HSE examines whether a similar restriction should be introduced into Great Britain (GB; England, Scotland and Wales) covering lead in ammunition in all habitats.
In the request, Defra asked HSE to consider the risks posed by the use of lead in ammunition and the potential need for further risk management measures beyond those already in place. Lead-containing propellants, and police and military uses are outside of the scope defined by Defra.
Article 69(6) of UK REACH requires HSE to publish proposals for restrictions on its website and invite interested parties to submit comments on the proposed restriction within 6 months of the date of publication. This public consultation fulfils this requirement.
An additional 60-day consultation on the draft socioeconomic opinion will be held at a later stage to invite comments and to inform the development of the final socioeconomic opinion. People wishing to submit information during these public consultations are strongly advised to submit information as early as possible and not to limit their comments to this second consultation. Only socioeconomic factors will be taken into account during this second consultation period.
The following documents are attached to this consultation:
- The Annex 15 restriction dossier describing the risks to the environment and human health that lead creates if it is present in ammunition and the restriction options that HSE is proposing to manage these risks. This dossier also provides socioeconomic information to demonstrate that the proposed restriction options are effective, practical and monitorable.
- An additional annex which provides further details about the risks and the availability of alternative substances.
UK REACH came into force at the end of the EU exit transition period (31st December 2020) and regulates the access of chemicals to the GB market. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU REACH continues to regulate the Northern Ireland market.
Please support your contribution with references and reliable data (facts and figures).
An all-out ban on lead ammunition in the UK would have devastating effects on the local sport shooting industry as lead shot is still the most common and affordable choice for those who hunt, shoot sporting clays, or trap. Alternative projectiles like copper bullets are often said to have poor accuracy compared to their lead core, copper-jacketed counterparts that are in common use. There is currently a lot of opposition to this new proposition from the UK sports shooting and hunting community as this would also affect air pellets, muzzle-loading balls, and the ever-popular .22LR cartridge. To read the full consultation you can visit this link here.