Brussels Sets it Sights on British Shooters
The European Union has Britain’s shooting industry in its sights as the latest potential casualty of its unwelcome and destructive 'harmonisation' drive.
by Tina Wingfield
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the EU’s regulatory authority on chemicals, has launched an investigation into the costs and benefits of a ban on the use of lead shot for shooting across Europe.
Although Britain already has a range of legal restrictions on lead shot designed to protect wildfowl, wading birds and sensitive wetlands, the ECHA is considering imposing further restrictions in response to a claim by Sweden that lead in ammunition may constitute a risk to human and environmental health.
As the UK’s shooting, trade and countryside management organisations point out, however, those calling for a ban on lead shot have consistently failed to produce evidence which proves that its use outside wetlands causes damage to health or wildlife.
While the case in favour of further restrictions on lead in ammunition is totally unproven, it is crystal clear that a ban could have a significant negative impact on the shooting industry. Britain has a very long tradition of shotgun shooting and has led the world in the development of the sporting shotgun. Most of the guns made by the historic British gun makers are unsuitable for use with economically comparative alternatives to lead. A ban on the use of lead shot would render these guns obsolete; forcing the near 1 million people who take part in shooting sports in the UK to purchase an alternative at 10 times the cost.
In addition to these individual costs, an EU ban could have a wider environmental and economic impact. Game shooting is worth £1.6 billion to the British economy and supports nearly 70,000 full time jobs, many in remote rural areas. Shooting also contributes nearly 2.7 million man-days on conservation of the British countryside every year. Britain has a unique game shooting tradition with a much greater focus on inland shooting than other European countries. This means that any further restrictions on the use of lead shot will have a disproportionately deleterious effect on the UK’s shooting industry, compared to other European countries.
Nick Griffin MEP has been a rough shooter since he was a teenager and he is aware of the potential damage an unnecessary Europe-wide ban on lead shot could have on the UK’s shooting industry. He has assured the many constituents who have contacted him to share their concerns about the proposed ban, that he will oppose this damaging EU interference.
The EU’s propaganda machine spins the line that harmonisation works to unify and improve the disparate systems of its 27 Member States. While some of Europe’s less well developed economies may benefit from Brussels’ 'one size fits all' project, its impact on Britain is disastrous. The imposition of uniform EU diktats over British systems which have been tailored over decades to reflect our unique national needs and cultural traditions, leads to increased bureaucracy, higher costs for both consumer and producer, and the suffocation of British enterprise.
As a British National Party MEP, Nick believes that decisions on all policy matters should be made by the British Government, with reference primarily to the best interests of Britain and the British people. Membership of the European Union prevents Britain from determining its own destiny and that is why we must leave the EU as soon as possible.