New date set for EU vote on lead ammunition ban

A new date has been set for a vote of EU member states on a proposal to ban lead ammunition on or near wetlands, AgriLand understands.

The vote had previously been slated to take place on or before July 15, but was suspended after an objection was raised by one member state, believed to be the Czech Republic.

The vote now seems to have been rescheduled for September 3. According to the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), the proposal remains broadly the same as the previous one.

Dan Curley, chairperson of the NARGC – who has previously expressed doubts over the legality of the proposal – noted that Germany, which had previously looked like it might abstain from voting, is now considering a vote in favour of the ban – on the provision that the implementation of the ban is pushed out to 36 months from the planned 24.

Curley commented: “[We] are very disappointed that the European Commission seems intent on getting this passed by the REACH [Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals] Committee, despite it being very poor, ill-thought out potential legislation.

“Their [the committee’s] view seems to be ‘we want this passed’ and it’s the member states problem to enforce it,” Curley argued.

He claimed: “It is poor regulation on so many fronts… It will cause member states like Ireland serious problems, and it will not be possible to implement it when [Ireland is] forced by the European Commission to transpose it into Irish law.

“This type of activity by the European Commission…flies in the face of all the principles of good regulation,” the NARGC chairperson added.

The NARGC had obtained legal advice on this matter, which led to the body highlighting a number of concerns with the proposed ban.

The first of these concerns is the scope of the restrictions, which the NARGC argues is too broad.

The definition of wetland being used for the purpose of the regulation includes, apparently, “areas of march, fen, peatland or water; whether natural or artificial; permanent or temporary; with water that is static or flowing; fresh, brackish or salt; including area of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed 6m”.

The second area of concern the NARGC has highlighted is that the regulation, in its present wording, operates on a ‘presumption of guilt’, in that hunters and gun users would have to prove that they were not shooting in and around a wetland.