The Czech Republic rejected another proposal of the European Commission to curb the use of lead ammunition within the European Union, according to Czech Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec.
“The ban on the use of lead ammunition near all water areas, including rivers, streams, and ditches, as well as the creation of so-called buffer zones around water areas remained in the proposal,” said Brabec, adding that “the only change is the reduction of the size of the buffer zone from 400 meters to 300 meters around water areas. We will always reject such illogical and inapplicable proposals.”
According to the Ministry of the Environment, the proposal would de facto lead to a total ban on the use of lead ammunition, as the buffer zones determined by the European Commission proposal would cover almost a quarter of the Czech Republic.
Last November, the EU Member States rejected the previous version of the proposal. The vote on the new proposal, published by the European Commission this January, will take place on Feb. 4.
On Wednesday, a working group composed of the environment, agriculture, defense, and interior ministries representatives, rejected the latest European Commission proposal, with Brabec calling the changes in the document “cosmetic”.
The Ministry of the Environment also says proving the real impact of lead on nature is difficult. That is why the ministry wants to conduct its own research on the matter.
However, a study by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) states that every year, one to two million birds die as a result of lead consumption.
Last year, the Chamber of Deputies disagreed with the general ban on lead ammunition in the EU and refused interference from EU institutions over the system of possession of weapons and ammunition under Czech law.
According to the Czech Chamber of Deputies, rejection of the proposal in the European Commission should not be a problem as there is enough support against the ban.
According to critics of the proposal, there is no suitable alternative to lead ammunition. They argue that the use of steel, brass, bismuth, or tungsten bullets would make shooting less safe, but more expensive at the same time.