What is a body of water? And when is a body of water temporary and when permanent? Two questions the answers to which we are reasonably certain have not featured overmuch in daily discourse but somewhere, presumably in a side room at number 200, Rue de la Loi in Brussels, we are guessing right now a gathering of freshly laundered Eurocrats are trying to come up with the answer. And they are doing so because it may be that a recently approved proposal to ban lead shot will become law before the end of the year. That law will define the area where the use of lead shot will be banned as “any body of water temporary or permanent and the land within 100metres of it”.
Even assuming – admittedly always a dangerous thing to do where Brussels is concerned – that the word ‘temporary’ does not embrace large puddles and swimming pools the new regulations would have an impact on around 60% of the UK and would ipso facto mean an end to the use of lead shot in all but a handful of places. As we head toward the door marked exit, whether or not this becomes law in UK is a matter of timing. If it reaches the EU statute books before the end of the year, then it will become law here, requiring it at some later stage to be repealed. Given that the post-Brexit Government agenda is likely to be stuffed with matters a lot more pressing than putting the lead back in the shooting industry’s pencil , never mind doing so against a background chorus of disapproval from the usual suspects, a quick reestablishment of the current status quo would seem remote.