Following the collapse of the UK’s Lead Ammunition Group (LAG), the Austrian government has announced plans to scrap research into phasing out lead.
Just days after Sir Barney White-Spunner left the group in protest following “abuses of power”, Austrian ministers have decided to abandon plans to convert to lead alternatives. The Austrian Ministry for the Economy has made the point that a ban would have huge economic impacts and that lead shot accounts for only two per cent of total lead in our environment.
Ministers have also argued that lead alternatives offer a poor substitute for ammunition, non-lead options are often not available for rare calibres and that lead shot accounts for a negligible percentage of the total contaminating the environment.
LAG’s report has since been published by the chairman, and has been criticised for not being representative of the evidence examined by its members. The report calls for a lead shot ban.
Barney White-Spunner said: “We are pleased that Austria is asking the right questions and researching areas that the chairman of the LAG chose to ignore. There is no scientific evidence that lead ammunition has a negative effect on the environment in the UK outside wetlands, where there are already restrictions on its use. Austria’s decision backs-up our move to leave the LAG.”
“Although one must be cautious when making comparisons with other countries, the decision in Austria, backed up by the recent Norwegian partial-repeal of lead ammunition, the ban of Tungsten in Denmark and the EU suspension of a study into lead toxicity due to lack of evidence, certainly suggests there is little proof for a ban on lead.”