Europe, restricting the use of lead shot over wetlands
Nick Griffin MEP, has been signposted to the following regarding the issue of lead in ammunition, currently the subject of investigation by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), to which the Countryside Alliance have responded.
Like other European countries, the United Kingdom has restricted the use of lead shot over wetlands. This was done as part of an obligation under the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA). Campaigners in the UK and Europe are suggesting that there should be further restrictions on the use of lead shot on both environmental and human health grounds.
The author of the letter written to Nick’s Constituency office states that there is no evidence that the use of lead shot outside wetlands has any environmental impact and there is likewise no evidence of any impact on human health and that Defra has set up a 'Lead Ammunition Group' to review scientific research and advise government.
Furthermore, this concerned constituent goes on to discuss the tradition of shotguns in the UK, “The United Kingdom has a very long tradition of shotgun shooting and has led the world in the development of the sporting shotgun. It is estimated that nearly 1 million people take part in shooting sports in the United Kingdom, from informal shoots to Olympic competition.
“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.”
She feels that this ban on lead in ammunition could have a negative effect on the shooting industry because most of the guns made by the historic British gun makers, and many from abroad, are unsuitable for use with economically comparative alternatives to lead. “Alternatives to lead with comparative ballistic capability can cost up to 10 times more.”
The United Kingdom has a unique game shooting tradition, with a great focus on inland shooting than the rest of Europe. Therefore, to curtail the use of lead shot, it would have a disproportionate effect on shooting in the United Kingdom compared to other European countries.
Nick’s Constituency Outreach officer responded to this concern on his behalf:
Thank you for your email regarding the European Chemical Agency's (ECHA) investigation into lead in ammunition. Mr Griffin agrees with the UK's shooting, trade and countryside management organisations, that those who oppose the use of lead shot (outside wetlands) have failed to produce sufficient scientific evidence to prove that it is damaging to environmental and human health.
The UK already has a range of legal restrictions on lead shot designed to protect wildfowl, wading birds and sensitive wetlands, which responsible UK shooters fully comply with. Mr Griffin 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.
As is customary within the EU mega-bureaucracy, procedural wheels turn very slowly, so even if Sweden proves the case for its proposed restriction, a ban on the use of lead shot is unlikely to be implemented within the next two years. Sweden notified the ECHA of its intention to propose a restriction on lead intended for consumer use - on the grounds it poses an unacceptable risk to human health - on 19th April 2012 but is not expected to submit its dossier until 19th April 2013. The dossier needs to demonstrate that the restriction is the most appropriate risk management instrument to address the identified risks.
The submission of Sweden's dossier and supporting evidence is just the initial step in a long process. Firstly, the ECHA Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) and Socio-Economic Analysis Committee (SEAC), assisted by the ECHA Secretariat and the Forum for the Exchange of Information on Reinforcement, check whether the submitted restriction dossier conforms with the requirements of Annex XV of the REACH Regulation.
If conformity is evident, the dossier is made publicly available (on the ECHA website) for consultation. Interested parties (individuals, companies, organisations, public authorities) may submit comments on the restriction report and supporting documentation within six months of the date of their publication. Within nine months of that same publication date, RAC prepares and adopts an opinion on the dossier. SEAC prepares and agrees a draft opinion. There will then be a public consultation on SEAC's draft opinion.
Interested parties may submit comments on this within 60 days from publication. SEAC will prepare and adopt its final opinion, taking account of any comments received. ECHA sends the opinions of RAC and SEAC along with relevant background documents to the European Commission. These are also published on the ECHA website. Within three months of receipt of the Committees' opinion, the Commission prepares a draft amendment of the list of restrictions.
It is at this point that the European Parliament can enter the decision-making process. MEPs can oppose the restriction using a process called "regulatory committee with scrutiny". The Commission may not adopt the proposed measures, although it may submit an amended or a new proposal.
Although EU legislation is not imminent, experience has proven that the longer the EU machinery has been running, the more difficult it is to halt it. A timely, co-ordinated opposition campaign is more likely to be successful than a last-ditch attempt to stop the legislative juggernaut. It bodes well that the shooting industry in the UK and across Europe is already working together through FACE (the Federation of European Hunting and Conservation of the EU) to respond to this threat to the continued use of lead shot.
Hopefully, an effective campaign will prevent Britain's shooting industry from becoming yet another casualty of the European Union's destructive "harmonisation" drive. A pan-European "one size fits all" infrastructure is being imposed on all Member States to enable the creation of a European Super State.
Pivotal to achieving this end goal is the elimination of all traces of national diversity and identity. This insistence on total uniformity not only undermines our national sovereignty, but given that Britain generally boasts relatively high standards compared with other European countries, it is unlikely that harmonisation will bring any significant improvements for British consumers.
EU initiatives are supposed to unify and improve the disparate systems of 27 European nations but, in practice, serve generally to create unnecessary bureaucracy; increase costs for both consumer and producer; and suffocate British enterprise.
As a British Nationalist MEP, Nick Griffin opposes all unnecessary interference in affairs which are rightly the concern of Britain's elected national government. He will, therefore, liaise with other MEPs opposed to unacceptable EU meddling, to ensure that Sweden's proposal for a restriction on lead ammunition is not adopted.
Mr Griffin and the British National Party believe that decisions on policy matters in economic, social and political spheres should be made by the British Government, with reference primarily to the best interests of Britain and the British people.
In order to maintain our national sovereignty and protect our right to determine our own destiny, Britain must leave the European Union as soon as possible. To achieve this end, Nick Griffin MEP launched a campaign in June 2011 calling for a referendum on leaving the EU. Further details of the campaign and the on-line petition are available HERE.