by James W Aris

On 6 May, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published its restriction dossier for the use of lead in ammunition. It has also opened a 6-month consultation based on it’s findings, which can be found here.

HSE have proposed the following restrictions for England, Scotland, and Wales:

  • ban on the sale of lead shot
  • ban on the use of all types of lead ammunition for live quarry shooting including lead shot, shotgun slugs, lead bullets and airgun pellets
  • ban on the use of lead shot for outdoor target shooting with possible exemptions for licensed athletes at licensed ranges with appropriate environmental protection measures
  • ban on the use of lead bullets for outdoor target shooting with possible exemptions for shooting at licensed ranges with appropriate environmental protection measures
  • mandatory labelling of the packaging of lead ammunition regarding the hazards and risks of lead.

Working alongside our sister organisations, Aim to Sustain, and The British Shooting Sports Council, the Countryside Alliance will be working on a comprehensive response to the consultation. This will be  published on our website in due course, alongside advice and guidance for those who may also wish to respond.

Our main concern is the potentially short time frame that has been outlined in the dossier for a transition for most uses of lead in ammunition – which could be a short as 18 months, or as long as 5 years, dependent upon derogations being accepted and implemented. The Countryside Alliance has publicly commented on the worrying disruption to global logistic supply chains, that is having a profound and direct effect on the manufacture of steel/ alternative non-lead cartridges. This, alongside the profound disruption still being felt across Europe, and the rest of the world, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has had a serious impact on the ability to ensure sufficient availability to meet demand, should an 18-month transition come into effect.  It would appear that this has not been taken into account.

We are committed to working alongside the regulator to ensure that restriction proposals are robustly scrutinised, evidence-led and, most importantly, proportionate to any identified risk with appropriate transition periods to allow manufacturers the time to scale-up production of viable alternatives to lead.




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