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Parliamentary questions
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16 October 2020
P-004924/2020(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Breton
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: P-004924/2020

The draft Regulation referred to by the Honourable Member prohibits discharging and carrying lead-containing gunshot, as defined by the restriction, when such discharging and carrying takes place in wetlands or within 100 metres around them. Hence, doing such acts at outdoor shooting ranges located in wetlands or within 100 metres around them falls within its scope.

The Ramsar definition of wetlands refers to ‘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 six metres’. The Ramsar Convention considers peatlands fundamental to protect biodiversity and contracting parties have been encouraged to take specific action to protect them(1).

As pointed out by the Honourable Member, geographical and climatic conditions and types of terrain vary in Member States. National authorities may find it appropriate to issue guidance to shooters on how the definition of wetlands, as laid down in the draft Regulation, and wetland area boundaries should be correctly interpreted in line with the objectives of the measure and the principle of proportionality. The Commission considers that national authorities are best placed to take into account the specificities of the different territories and that guidance at national level could therefore be more helpful, specific and of greater practical use. Nevertheless, after adoption of the restriction, the Commission could ask the European Chemicals Agency to consider providing training on this topic for enforcement authorities in the Member States. In any event, shooters using toxic-free gunshot will not need to know wetland boundaries.

(1)13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 21-29 October 2018. https://www.ramsar.org/sites/default/files/documents/library/cop13doc.18.14_rev1_dr_restoration_peatlands_e.pdf
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