Dear members/observers of the FACE Ammunition Working Group,
Update: Lead shot restriction over wetlands
Last Tuesday, I attended the final Committee for Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC) meeting in Helsinki (dealing with the lead shot over wetlands restriction). SEAC discussed and eventually approved the final opinion. There were several comments from SEAC member state representatives with various questions, but all in support of the opinion. Only one SEAC member state expert, Mr. Stavros Georgiou (UK), criticised parts of SEAC opinion for failing to consider some of the comments from the public consultation. ECHA staff said that they did take the public consultation submissions on board and responded when they could not. However, we are still waiting for their report to be uploaded, which shows how they responded to each reply to the public consultation. I intervened on a number of points, which will hopefully result in some minor edits to the final opinion.
The main issue (the Ramsar definition of a wetland) remains unchanged. At last week’s meeting, SEAC supported RAC’s position, which is firmly about eradicating as much risk from lead within the scope of the restriction.
The next steps:
When ECHA submits its final document to the European Commission (EC), the EC will have three months to deal with it, including getting it through the EU REACH Committee. During this time, it will formulate a draft proposal for an amendment to the list of restrictions in the REACH regulation. This draft proposal will be sent to the EU REACH Committee at which Member States will each have a representative. This committee will discuss the proposal and then vote on its opinion regarding the amendment. For any legislative changes to be made, the committee would need to have a qualified majority giving a favourable opinion. The European Parliament will also have some say in the process.
Regarding the timing, I understand from meetings with ECHA staff that the relevant EC units are very busy at the moment, so ECHA may delay sending the document to them. However, FACE members should continue discussing the text of the proposed restriction with their relevant government ministry/agency. I will keep in touch when there are further developments.
Update: Lead as a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC)
Last week, ECHA’s Member State Committee (MSC) agreed to identify lead as a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC). The formal addition of the substance to the Candidate List is currently foreseen for next week. This listing is not surprising to FACE as we heard (during the last meeting of our Ammunition Working Group) that 95% of substances make the Candidate List. Further, due to its harmonised EU classification as a Category 1A reproductive toxicant, lead metal met the criteria for identification as an SVHC.
For the movement, we understand that this listing will not have consequences for hunters. Candidate Listing means that EU and EEA suppliers of articles containing more than 0.1% by weight of lead must provide information to the recipients which allows for safe use. As a minimum, the supplier must inform the recipient of the presence of lead above the 0.1% threshold. The information must be provided in writing and free of charge. If the recipient of the article is a consumer, the information must be provided reactively within 45 days of a request. For those EU and EEA companies producing or importing articles, they have to notify ECHA within 6 months of the substance being included in the Candidate List.
Potential next steps:
We understand that about 25-30% of substances make the Authorisation List. At the same time, ECHA regularly assesses the substances from the Candidate List to determine which ones should be included in the Authorisation List as a priority. If lead eventually made the Authorisation List, it would result in a (regulatory) move towards non-lead ammunition where alternatives exist.
In line with ECHA’s procedures, prioritisation is based on information on the intrinsic properties, wide dispersive use or high volumes that fall within the scope of the authorisation requirement and includes a 90-day public consultation as part of the process. During the public consultation, there is also a parallel call for information by the EC on the possible socio-economic consequences of the inclusion of the substances in the Authorisation List.
After the public consultation, the opinion of the Member State Committee (MSC) is sought and together with the comments received during the public consultation, ECHA would finalise its recommendation. ECHA would then submit its recommendation to the EC, who would take the decision on the substances to be included in the Authorisation List. The experience to date has shown that substances can be added to the Authorisation List approximately 2-4 years after being included in the Candidate List. However, this step lies fully with the European Commission and after receiving ECHA’s recommendation, ECHA would have no further involvement in the decision. Further information can be found on these pages:
- Recommendation for the Authorisation List: https://echa.europa.eu/regulations/reach/authorisation/recommendation-for-inclusion-in-the-authorisation-list
- Public consultations: https://echa.europa.eu/public-consultation-in-the-authorisation-process
- Guidance on requirements for substances in articles: https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/23036412/articles_en.pdf/cc2e3f93-8391-4944-88e4-efed5fb5112c
I attach (again) the position of the European Shooting Sports Forum (ESSF) on this issue, which we discussed during the last meeting of the Ammunition Working Group.
The future is not bright for lead when it comes to the European Chemicals Agency.
Dr. David Scallan
Senior Conservation Manager
FACE – Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU
Rue Belliard 205 – B-1040 BRUSSELS
Office: +32 (0)2-4161614
Mobile: +353 87-9504563