EU Regulation- Restrictions on Use of Lead Gunshot in or around Wetlands

The EU have adopted Regulation 2021/57 concerning the use and carrying of lead gunshot in or around wetlands. On 15 February 2023, this regulation will come in to force and the Regulation is directly applicable to all Member States. This Regulation is binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

From the 15 February 2023:

  • discharging gunshot containing a concentration of lead (expressed as metal) equal to or greater than 1% by weight in or within 100 metres of wetlands is prohibited.
  • carrying any such gunshot where this occurs while out wetland shooting or as part of going wetland shooting in or within 100 metres of wetlands is prohibited.

For the purposes of these regulations the definition of ‘wetlands’ is that used in the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention). All such wetlands are subject to the Regulation, and an online map viewer of wetland habitats subject to the new restrictions on the use of lead gunshot in and around wetlands can be found here. The sites included on this map are Ireland’s Ramsar sites and all Natural Heritage Areas, all Special Protection Areas, and Special Areas of Conservation with Qualifying Interests related to wetlands.

It will be gun users’ responsibility to ensure that they comply with the new EU Regulation and use appropriate ammunition when shooting. Gun users should ensure that their firearm can safely use non-lead ammunition as appropriate.

Key Definitions in the Regulation:

For the purposes of the Regulation, the following definitions are relevant:

Wetlands” means “areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed 6 metres”

within 100 metres of wetlands” means “within 100 metres outward from any outer boundary of a wetland”.

wetland shooting” means “shooting in or within 100 metres of wetlands.”

“gunshot” means “pellets used or intended for use in a single charge or cartridge in a shotgun”. (As regards lead in gunshot, the Regulation refers to a concentration of lead equal to or greater than 1% by weight).

“shotgun” means “a smooth-bore gun, excluding airguns”

 “carrying” gunshot: The Regulation provides that “carrying” means “any carrying on the person or carrying or transporting by any other means”.  The Regulation also indicates that in determining whether a person is carrying gunshot “as part of going shooting” regard will be had to all the circumstances of the case and also that the “person found with the gunshot need not necessarily be the same person as the person shooting”.

Further information can be found here.