What helped drive the decision to phase out lead shot?

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generic add if used - Credit: Archant

We take a look at the legislation in Europe that contributed to the decision by our rual organisations to gradually phase out lead shot

Here’s a brief look at the legistlative situation in Europe that has, in part, driven the organisations to make their move.

What is the European Commission?

The European Commission is the executive branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.

Background on proposed lead ammunition restrictions

In September 2018, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which regulates chemicals and biocides on the EU market, published the results of an investigative report into lead shot used in terrestrial environments, in fishing tackle and in other ammunitions. The report built on the existing collection of documents on the restriction of lead shot used over wetlands, and followed the European Commission’s request to collect further information in order to assess the risk involved in other uses of lead ammunition, including hunting over non-wetland terrains (terrestrial environments) and target shooting; it would also assess the socio-economic impact of a possible restriction on lead used for these purposes.

The report concluded that there was sufficient evidence of risk from these other lead uses to justify additional regulatory measures. In light of the report’s conclusions, in July 2019 the European Commission requested that the ECHA developed an ‘Annex XV’ dossier in view of a possible restriction on the use of lead in ammunition (this would cover lead shot used in terrestrial environments, bullets used in wetlands and other terrains, and fishing tackle).

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The Annex XV dossier would assess aspects including animal welfare, accidents to hunters, risk to the environment and wildlife, and risk to humans via the consumption of game meat, as well as identifying viable restriction options and thoroughly assessing the more viable options. There was a call for interested parties to submit evidence and information, by 16 December 2019, to contribute to the investigation. The resulting proposal is now with the European Commission for decision making.


The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. Under the UK-EU withdrawal agreement, a transition period will end on 31 December 2020 unless extended. During this time, the UK will be treated for most purposes as if it were still an EU member state, and most EU law (including as amended or supplemented) will continue to apply to the UK. In other words, the results of the Annex XV dossier could very well affect us here in the UK, regardless of our exit from the European Union.