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.
These new rules will help protect the health of our wetlands, particularly those of international importance, and help safeguard our birds from the risk of ingesting spent lead gunshot, which can lead to toxicological effects, including death. The use of lead in gunshot also leads to a risk to species that feed on birds contaminated with lead gunshot.
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.