The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is developing a timetable to phase out lead in fishing weights as part of wider restrictions designed to reduce the risks of the material to people, wildlife and the environment.

The ECHA proposes a ban on the sale and use of lead sinkers and lures, with transition periods depending on weight, for example a three-year timespan for weights of 50g and under and a five-year period for those above 50g.

It is also pressing for an immediate ban on the use of lead sinkers when the sinker is deliberately dropped to water (lead drop off techniques) and is keen to start a six-month consultation scheduled to start on March 24th.

Angling Trades Association chairman Andrew Race has been involved in many of the discussions and said after the latest meeting: “Much of the proposal put forward by ECHA follows the structure that ATA proposed. There is some divergence in terms of initial scope and awareness but that was to be expected as we have one standpoint, and they have another. Further submissions and discussions will take place before the final proposals are submitted, and the ATA will be an integral part of that process.

“We have to remember that lead reduction in the environment is fact. The UK will likely follow the REACH environmental programme even outside the EU, and a phasing out of lead is an inevitability at some point. The position of ATA is to lobby for an effective transitional period that benefits both the industry, angling, and the environment. 

“The timeframe set out by ECHA is in line with what we expected however some proposals are called into question especially around policing and awareness. Our fear is that some elements of manufacture and import could either be driven underground, or unaffected altogether making some targets unachievable from a practical standpoint.”

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