17th July 2012
The Countryside Alliance is deeply concerned that well intentioned EU legislation could spell disaster for rural shooting. The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has started to look into the issues surrounding the use of lead and is collecting information as to impacts of lead shot. Evidence gathered in the UK has consistently failed to support the outlawing of lead shot across the continent.
A blanket ban would be deeply damaging to the rural economy and communities which enshrine both recreational and professional shooting as a way of life and livelihood.
I am a firm supporter of the Countryside Alliance's Lead Shot Campaign and recently met with world renowned former British hot shot, and current GB Olympic Coach, Ian Coley at his shooting school just outside of Cheltenham. Mr Coley, like myself, is firmly opposed to any threat to the use of lead shot. Shooting isn't just for sport or hunting, it is often used by farmers as a means of pest control.
Although the ECHA is not specifically targeting sporting ammunition, EU legislation often has far wider ramifications than originally intended. Frustratingly the ECHA investigation is also duplicating existing domestic initiatives looking into this issue, and studies conducted on the use of lead outside wetland areas have consistently failed to provide any evidence that lead in ammunition has an impact either on human health or to the environment
The UK has a long tradition of recreational shotgun and rural shooting. That is why I wholeheartedly support the Countryside Alliance Campaign highlighting the ECHA‘s threat to our rural economy.
The EU must surely have more important things to worry about than lead shot. I will do my utmost to prevent any unnecessary and damaging European proposals threatening our rural way of life.