Schedule set for EU Parliament debate on lead ammunition ban

A schedule has been set for a debate in the European Parliament on a proposed regulation to ban lead ammunition in and around wetlands.

The proposal was sent to the parliament from the EU’s Committee on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH Committee).

First, objectors to the proposal are asked to provide a resolution to be ready for submission by October 21.

After that, there will be an exchange of views in the committee on October 28 and 29, with the committee set to vote on the proposal at the conclusion of that exchange.

If the resolution is adapted at the committee stage, then there will possibly be a vote in a plenary session of parliament on November 1, though this is yet to be confirmed.

There are 80 MEPs on the Environment Committee. Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan and independent MEP Mick Wallace are the only two full members of the committee who are Irish. Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher is a substitute member.

AgriLand understands that, at this time, O’Sullivan has expressed an intention to vote in favour of the proposed regulation; Wallace is apparently undecided at this time; and Kelleher has lodged an objection to the regulation.

Kelleher said recently: “I have been inundated by messages from farmers and gun sports enthusiasts in Ireland who are aghast at this proposal.

“While I fully understand and appreciate the environmental and wildlife concerns, the commission’s proposal, as currently drafted and when applied to Ireland, is too expansive.

“Ireland would, I believe, be disproportionately affected due to the high number of designated wetland areas. A more balanced, middle ground approach needs to be found.

“Our country has the highest proportion of wetland coverage, according to the EU, at 4,000km² or 5.6% of total land area,” Kelleher explained.

“When you add in the commission’s proposal to extend the ban to anywhere within 100m of wetland, Irish farmers and gun enthusiasts will be severely restricted.

“The European Commission’s answer is always the same. Switch to steel cartridges. What they fail to understand is the cost that would be incurred to adapt the shotguns – estimated at approximately €2,000 per gun – is very prohibitive,” Kelleher noted.