Dear Chapter Board Member,
We ask your attention to this matter, which requires immediate action.
The European Commission (EC) is preparing a new law to ban the use of lead shot over wetlands under REACH, which is an EU regulation on chemicals. Normally, this should not be a major problem as 23 Member States already have laws in place on the use of lead shot for hunting over wetlands.
However, there are major problems with the EC’s proposal because it introduces fixed buffer zones around wetlands, a short transition period, a vague ban on possession of lead shot, which automatically criminalises hunters, and a very broad definition of wetlands that is too complex for the purpose of this regulation for hunters and enforcement officers to understand in the field.
The latest proposal from the EC with the relative Annex can be found at the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regcomitology/index.cfm?do=search.documentdetail&Dos_ID=19478&DS_ID=64660&Version=4
Please write to your relevant government agency/ministry and tell them that your SCI Chapter is unhappy with the EC’s proposal.
At this link, you will see the list of government agencies/ministries (that represent your country on the EU REACH Committee) that attended the previous REACH Committee meeting on 04/02/2020 where a previous discussion took place on this file.
We also suggest the contact with your national hunting association, for knowledge of actions that have already been taken.
Due to the short time, if you have direct contact with any deputy to the European Parliament, you also can write him.
ATTACHED YOU WILL FIND the Draft Letter Text that we consider convenient to this situation, considering our concerns and proposes:
For this regulation to be practical, proportionate and understandable to hunters and enforcement officers, wetlands should be re-defined as areas with visible open water.
The new definition of “wetlands” proposed by the European Commission is unacceptable.
It is too broad and includes all land covered by peat soil even when there is no water present.
Even puddles that form in a field after it rains are defined as “wetlands.”
Because the definition of wetlands is so broad neither hunters nor law enforcement can understand what is legal or illegal.
No Member State in the European Union defines wetlands by this definition, which means every Member State would have to change their definition to comply.
Instead of fixed buffer zones around wetlands, the regulation should state that “spent lead shot should not land within a wetland.”
The EC also decided to create 100-meter buffer zones around each wetland which makes the boundary lines even harder to determine for hunters and law enforcement.
The European Chemicals Agency prepared an opinion report for the EC and they did not recommend buffer zones.
Banning Possession or Carrying of Lead Shot
The proposed text on ‘carrying’ should be limited to hunters discharging lead gunshot from a shotgun in or over wetlands.
The EC has proposed a ban on carrying lead shot “while out wetland shooting, or as part of going wetland shooting.”
This is the most concerning part of the proposal.
Many small game hunters will pass through many wetlands and they could be accused of carrying lead shot while hunting in a wetland.
They would have to prove they are not wetland shooting which threatens their presumption of innocence – a fundamental right in the EU.
The transition period should be at least 36 months following ECHA’s opinion and five years for the EU Member States (Ireland, Poland, Slovenia, Romania, Malta) that currently have no restriction in place.
The proposed transition time of 24 months as opposed to 36 is unacceptable and not based on any sociological or economic data.
36 months was proposed by the European Chemicals Agency and based on information and input from affected stakeholders.
Manufacturers need time to increase production of steel gunshot instead of lead
YOUR CONTRIBUTION IT IS NECESSARY.
This discussion will take place at EU Parliament next day 23 of June.
If you have any question, please, feel free to contact me.
SCI Europe Committee
Chapter Service Specialist Europe
Phone: +351 917320675