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Blanket ban on country’s lead-shot guns won’t be triggered

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Only 18.72pc of the country will be affected by the ban on lead-shot guns

Only 18.72pc of the country will be affected by the ban on lead-shot guns

Only 18.72pc of the country will be affected by the ban on lead-shot guns

Farmers and landowners with guns are less likely to be impacted by new EU restrictions mandating a ban on guns using lead shot.

Fears that thousands of guns using lead shot will have to be dumped or decommissioned have been averted, as the Department of Housing has confirmed that the ban will only impact a limited area of the country. New EU restrictions mean that guns using lead shot cannot be used in wetlands from February 2023 because of their toxicity for wildlife.

Initial estimations by the IFA and others highlighted that under RAMSAR definitions, over 80pc of Ireland could be classed as a wetland.

If a blanket ban on guns using lead shot had gone ahead, the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) warned that decommissioning and replacing over 100,000 guns owned by farmers and landowners could cost €241m. This included an average cost of around €2,000 for a new gun using steel shot instead of lead.

However, the Department of Housing has now confirmed that just 18.72pc of the country has been designated as a wetland. If the wetland area had exceeded 20pc, then there would have been a blanket ban on the use of lead shot throughout the country under the regulations.

“As that is not the situation in Ireland, the purchase and use of lead shot in all of our territory will not be banned under these regulations,” a spokesperson for the Department of Housing told the Farming Independent.

Traditionally, birds such as woodcock and snipe would be shot in bog or wetland areas. News that a ban on lead shot was coming into effect was welcomed by wildlife groups such as BirdWatch Ireland, who said that pollution from lead ammunition affected one million waterbirds across Europe every year.

The ban on lead shot in the remaining 18.72pc of the country will still come into effect in 2023 and NARGC Chair Dan Curley is calling for clarity on which parts of the country will be affected.

“We welcome movement on this, but the Department needs to engage with stakeholders now on both sides of the debate so we’re all informed as to how this is going to affect people on the ground,” Curley said.

“There needs to be clarity to ensure that the ban is upheld and adhered to and that everyone understands where the defined wetlands are.”

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