Fears over future ban on use of lead shot throughout UK

The prospect of a total ban throughout the UK looms as anti-lead groups gear up to advise on the use of lead shot.

Fears over future ban on use of lead shot.
Fears over a future ban on the use of all lead shot throughout the UK were raised considerably last week following the announcement that a group is being brought together to advise DEFRA and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on issues connected with the use of lead ammunition.

Any ban would have a significant impact on shooters, notably those who use older guns, as well as potential animal welfare implications given lead’s superior lethality.

The switch to non-toxic shot, if enforced, would have enormous cost implications for shooters, particularly those who will be forced to use expensive alternatives to lead.

Sitting on the advisory group will be representatives from a variety of organisations.

Several of them, such as Dr Mark Avery from the RSPB, are already vehemently opposed to the use of lead shot.

The RSPB recently introduced its own ban on the use of lead ammunition on its reserves.

Lead shot ban possible.

Also sitting on the group will be John Batley, director of the Gun Trade Association and Robert Gray, campaigns director of the Countryside Alliance (CA).

The CA – which opposes any further restrictions on lead shot – was not on the group initially, but after representations were made to DEFRA, it was invited to join.

Lead shot ban possible.

DEFRA will provide the secretariat and a first meeting of the group will take place this April under the chairmanship of John Swift, chief executive of BASC.

Mr Swift said: “The aim of the Lead Ammunition Group is to bring together stakeholders from all interested parties to address a wide range of topics concerning lead ammunition.”

“The group is tasked with identifying any significant threats as well as any perceived threats that are not significant. The group is to advise on options for managing any risks, knowledge gaps and communication issues.

“It is essential that the sub-groups are as inclusive as possible and balanced and fair in their investigations and findings. At the end of the first year a written progress report will be submitted to DEFRA and the FSA. Our scope is limited to England but the devolved administrations will be kept informed and the FSA has a UK-wide remit.”

He attempted to calm fears that the formation of the Lead Ammunition Group effectively signs the death warrant for the use of lead in the UK: “No political party has proposals to further limit the use of lead ammunition. DEFRA has initiated the process, but it will be led by stakeholders and we must all ensure that work goes forward on a sound footing.”

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  • john bellak

    I am about to be 80 years old and shoot regularly..I am also a life member of the RSPB and have been a keen birdwatcher all over the world.others can correctly vouch for the superior qualities of lead shot and can point out that old english guns would be horribly devalued by a ban.But my point is that there is absolutely no danger to human health from swallowing a few lead pellets when eating game.I eat almost no meat other than game and so eat game three or four or five times a week and have done so for most of my long adult life.Pellets stay occasionally in my gut and re-emerge occasionally from it with no ill effects at all.A woman from Slimbridge,where I was once a member,was on the radio early this morning(Nov 12}frankly talking absolute rubbish about dangers to human health-come and see me and check me out! Will the Defra committee see these comments?

  • Mr Michael Jones

    On the lead shoot issue: I shoot over a 300 acre farm and have done for the last 35 years as this farm is arable it is ploughed twice a year,I personally know on this farm no crop has ever failed as a result of lead.soil tests are carried out biannually and with ploughing will turn in any spent shot,eventually joining the trace elements in the soil and up to now has never shown any evidence of alarm in results of soil tests.We all know the vast issues of the use of steel shoot creates (pattern)(punch)(range)also the strong possibilities of wounded game.Most shooters know when it time to switch to steel shot,obviously over ponds and clay grounds.

  • Howard Crowther

    If lead is so toxic why isn’t it being stripped from all roofs,why is it still allowed in batteries and why have all underground lead water pipes not been replaced? I think that the argument for a ban on lead is political and not a humane or environmental one

  • Hilary Johnson

    Is lead less toxic in the UK? Why is foreign evidence not relevant?

  • Martyn Hobrough

    re: Lead Shot Ban
    It is of huge concern to me that, once again, there appears to be a rush by DEFRA to regulate without proper UK-based evidence. That rural and shooting bodies initially were excluded from the discussions is extraordinary. It is right that the CA and others now should be involved, but the inclusion of G&WCT is essential – they have serious research capability that must be deployed. It also must be remembered that it is not just lead shot, but also lead bullets that are under threat. The deer stalking community, which includes me, has real worries about a ban on the use of lead ammunition. Lead ammunition has known ballistic advantages that result in humane kills. This is an issue of deer welfare that must not be ignored.