Proposal under way to phase out lead by 2015. Jan Kappel reports…

The European Parliament is seeking to ban the use of lead in recreational fishing equipment by 2015, writes EFTTA lobbyist Jan Kappel.

On 22 May, the Parliament voted to substantially increase an existing list of toxic substances governed by EU laws on water quality.

Parliament also voted to upgrade a number of these substances to a higher category of toxicity, which would require member states to phase-out their use of lead entirely by 2015.

The move is a step backwards from July last year, when the EU Commission did not include lead in its new measures for dealing with ‘priority’ and ‘priority hazardous’ substances. 
But the European Parliament now wants to see a change to that. The Parliament suggests lead and a number of other substances to be ‘subject to a review for identification as a possible “priority hazardous substance”’.

EFTTA lobbyist, Jan Kappel, said: “The Commission is requested to make a proposal to the Parliament and the Council for its final classification. If the Council agrees fully with the Parliament then EU Member States will be required to phase-out the use of lead entirely by 2015.

“The Commission is fully aware that lead disposal from angling is very, very small compared to the total of lead waste. And the Commission is fully aware that the relatively small amount of lost lead sinkers don’t present much of a ‘hazardous’ to the environment. But this is politics.”

Anyone who wants to avoid a ban of lead in angling tackle should talk to their national environment ministry and minister. But members of the EU Committee on Fisheries are all in favour of a ban.

They agreed: ‘Lead, used in fishing equipment for both recreational and professional fisheries, is a source of water pollution. In order to reduce the level of lead in fishing waters, Member States should encourage the fishing sector to replace lead by less hazardous alternatives.’

Added Jan Kappel: “Most likely it would be a waste of time – and too late – to try and educate the MEPs on this highly emotional issue.”

The Council will vote on the Parliament’s first reading in a forthcoming meeting.

Janet Doyle, EFTTA General Manager, said that EFTTA encourages members to consider the use of lead alternatives but warned that an EU-wide ban would translate into costs in production, operations and administration for its members.

Company Contact:  Kathleen Glausch, EFTTA
Tel: +44 (0) 207 253 0777 Fax: +44 (0) 207 253 7779

Media Contact: Naidre Werner, TheSource4
   Tel: +44 (0)1733 397350,

EFTTA is a Trade Association for Manufacturers and Wholesalers of sportfishing equipment. EFTTA was established in London in 1981, as an international, independent association to serve the European fishing tackle trade by campaigning to promote sportfishing, environmental issues and international business.
In July 2006, the EU Commission put forward a subsequent proposal laying out measures for dealing with priority substances. The proposal also upgraded several substances from “priority” to “priority hazardous”. In total, the Commission lists 13 priority hazardous substances out of 33 priority substances in its proposal.
The Parliament reacted to the proposal on 22 May with a first reading vote that pushes for the inclusion of 28 more priority substances, nearly doubling the existing list of 33. Parliament considers 22 of these 28 substances to be priority hazardous, and it voted to upgrade a further ten substances on the existing list to priority hazardous.
The Parliament is pushing for 61 priority substances, 45 of which are to be priority hazardous. Parliament is also urging the Commission to present a report by 2015 on implementation of the directive, and to propose stricter measures in 2016 if progress is not satisfactory.
Jan Kappel will be available for comment on the Press Stand (F5) at Efttex over the weekend of June 15th, 16th and 17th 2007 in Prague