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Arms manufacturer loads lead-free bullets

Traditional variety 'pose a risk to people', warns BAE Systems

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Arms manufacturing monolith BAE Systems has decided to improve its whale-hugging credentials by developing a range of next-generation, environmentally-friendly weapons designed to be friendlier to Mother Earth.

Included in the list of tree-hugging hardware is the "lead-free" bullet, offering clear advantages over the traditional variety which "can harm the environment and pose a risk to people".

According to The Sunday Times, BAE Systems is also looking to green up its "jets, fighting vehicles and artillery", including cutting carbon emmissions and the use of Volatile Organic Compounds. The company has already shown it intends to walk it like it talks it, and in 2003 stopped using depleted uranium in its products.

BAE Systems' intiative is backed by the Ministry of Defence which has, rather spendidly, "proposed quieter warheads to reduce noise pollution and grenades that produce less smoke".

BAE systems' corporate social responsibility supremo, Dr Debbie Allen, declared: "Weapons are going to be used and when they are, we try to make them as safe for the user as possible, to limit the collateral damage and to impact as little as possible on the environment."

The anti-arms lobby has reacted with predictable derision. Symon Hill of Campaign Against Arms Trade slammed the propsals as "ridiculous", adding: "BAE is determined to try to make itself look ethical, but they make weapons to kill people and it's utterly ridiculous to suggest they are environmentally friendly." ®

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