The leading shooting and rural organisations have issued a joint statement calling for a move away from lead shot


The major shooting organisations have decided to endorse a move away from lead shot to alternatives.

Since lead shot has been used for centuries we know a great deal about how it works to kill game efficiently and cleanly, the paramount objective and duty of all sportsmen.  We do not have the same body of evidence when it comes to steel shot and much of what we do have is empirical.

The Field asks all who are supporting this move to invest now in rigorous ballistics research so that we can be confident that the steel loads we use are both safe to use in our guns and have the performance to kill a pheasant cleanly and consistently at fair sporting range, ie 40 yards.

When we have this evidence we can embrace change with some confidence.

Jonathan Young


“The use of lead could continue if the risks are adequately controlled or where alternatives are not technically suitable or turn out to be too expensive. Regulation should not result in disproportionate socio-economic impacts,” writes Christiaan Logtmeijer, in the ECHA’s May newsletter, in his position as ECHA’s scientific officer responsible for coordinating the project to collect information and evidence on the use of lead ammunition for the European Commission.

“Our job is to establish if there are risks from the use of lead in these different activities and, if so, to explore how effective a regulation could be to control those risks and what the wider impacts of a regulation on different elements of society would be,” added Lotmeijer. “We are interested in whether some or all of these activities could continue without lead or with lead, but with specific risk management measures in place.”

“For our stakeholders, it is also important to understand that proposing a restriction does not necessarily mean a ban. A restriction can be any kind of condition on the use of a substance that is seen necessary to mitigate the risks.”

The UK’s shooting organisations are singled out in the newsletter for their willingness to see an end to lead ammunition. “We’ve learnt about interesting developments through our stakeholder cooperation. For example, in the UK the major shooting and hunting organisations have expressed their wish to see an end to both lead and single-use plastics in ammunition used in shotguns within five years,” said Peter Simpson, a senior scientific officer at ECHA.

To read the newsletter in full, click on THIS link.


The following statement was issued by the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (CPSA) on February 24.

“The main game-shooting organisations in the UK (BASC, CA, CLA, GWCT, NGO, BGA, and MA) have today released a statement encouraging a voluntary move away from lead shot and single use plastics for game shooting with shotguns. The transition will happen gradually over the next five years. This decision is being taken due to recent legislation discussions in Europe that would see lead banned from consumer products, including game meat. Some UK supermarkets are already refusing to accept game that has been shot with lead, and the European market also buys a large proportion of UK game.

“We at the CPSA have been involved in the discussions with the game-shooting organisations and whilst we understand their decision to voluntarily remove lead from their sport, this will have no effect on clay-target shooting.”


FACE – the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation  – was established in 1977 and represents the interests of Europe’s seven million hunters as an international non-profit-making, non-governmental organisation (INGO). This makes FACE the largest democratically representative body for hunters in the world.  An umbrella body for 37 European nations’ hunting bodies, FACE’s UK member representatives are the BASC and the Countryside Alliance.

On February 18 2020 there was an exchange of views with the European Commission (EC) on lead shot in the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

Following that, FACE made the following statement:

  • FACE supports phasing out the use of lead shot for hunting over wetlands.
  • Thus far, 23 member states have phased out the use of lead shot for hunting over wetlands in line with the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA). Member states have designed their regulations in a way that is proportionate to the risk as well as being practical and understandable for hunters and enforcement officers in line with national conditions.
  • FACE does not support the current EC proposal because it introduces fixed buffer zones around wetlands (which were not recommended by the ECHA*), a short transition period (even shorter than what ECHA recommended), a vague ban on possession of lead shot, which automatically criminalises hunters, and a very broad definition of wetlands that is too complex for the purpose of this regulation for hunters and enforcement officers to understand in the field*.

  • The European Chemicals Agency

**UPDATE** Monday 9 March


Further to the joint statement of 28th February, we reiterate in the strongest possible terms that Gamebore had ZERO consultation with any of the 9 shooting organisations, nor were we invited to attend any meetings to discuss a voluntary phasing out of plastic wads and lead shot. Gamebore were at no time made aware that meetings were taking place to discuss the subject and at no time were we asked for any input.

Gamebore were made privy to the announcement only on Wednesday19th February, three working days before the publication in The Times on 24th February, in the form of a single email and telephone call from the Gun Trade Association. By this point the decision had already been made, with the announcement already written and signed. This does notconstitute consultation.

We trust that this now answers the large volume of questions being asked regarding Gamebore’s involvement.

Gamebore is currently the largest supplier of non-lead shotgun ammunition in Europe, amassing a wealth of information and experience over many years of research, development and manufacturing. We absolutely would have welcomed the opportunity to give guidance on manufacturing capabilities had we been approached.

Moving forward, we remain dedicated to the task at hand and assure shooters and fellow industry members that our efforts to develop alternative products will continue.

Friday 6th March 2020

**UPDATE** Monday 2 March


BASC issues further statement on non-lead ammunition

Further to the statement issued by the shooting organisations last Friday and, in light of speculation on social media, BASC would like to clarify its position:

BASC understands the manufacturers’ concerns for their commercial interests as expressed in their statement on Friday 28th February.

The cartridge manufacturers were consulted before the publication by the shooting organisations of their initial joint statement on the proposed five-year transition to sustainable, non-lead ammunition.

Representatives of shooting organisations were in contact with cartridge manufacturers at meetings where the proposed joint statement by the shooting organisations was discussed. A copy of the statement was given to cartridge companies in advance and they had the opportunity to comment.

BASC is seeking government financial support for the cartridge manufacturers to underpin the future development of sustainable alternatives to lead shot and had held meetings with ministers and Downing Street advisors to secure this support.

A senior representative of one of the cartridge manufacturers gave a presentation on the sustainable alternatives to lead shot in January to members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Shooting and Conservation.

The joint statement issued by the organisations last week was accompanied by material provided by the Gun Trade Association, of which the cartridge manufacturers are members.

BASC has always worked closely with cartridge manufacturers in delivering policy on ammunition and we will continue to do so. The shooting organisations are seeking an urgent meeting with the CEOs of the companies to agree the way forward.

BASC urges all members of the shooting community to stand together as we work through the detail of a transition that will ensure the long-term future of shooting.


The countryside organisations have issued a statement in response to a joint statement from the UK’s leading cartridge manufacturers. Read the statement from Eley Hawk, Gamebore, Hull Cartridge and Lyalvale Express by clicking on THIS link.

Countryside organisations welcome cartridge manufacturers commitment to the future of game shooting in the UK

We welcome today’s announcement from the directors of the UK’s leading shotgun cartridge manufacturers to seek alternatives to lead ammunition.

Their goal could not be more clear: “to develop new high performance ammunition for all shotguns and gauges using sustainable materials and therefore secure the future of shooting”.

To achieve all this in just five years is going to be a huge challenge, but we look forward to working with them and others to achieving our aim.


The Scottish Gamekeepers Association is wholly in agreement with the principal of seeking to be environmentally responsible.

Getting rid of plastics in ammunition, for example, is entirely sensible and there has been development in the production of biodegradable wads.

The issue of lead shot is presently less clear.

Evidence regarding impacts of lead traces in food is limited. What evidence there is tends to be contested. We are not blinkered on this matter.

The SGA Deer Vision, for example, seeks more Scottish wild venison to be consumed and we are aware that lead can be an issue- and perhaps a barrier- in some markets.

However, we believe more research is required on lead in food. Many foodstuffs contain lead traces. It is probable that other food products, perhaps less scrutinised than shot game, may contain lead at amounts which could merit public guidance.

There is a need, therefore, to study the impacts of lead in food, in the round, to ensure any proposed changes are well evidenced. The majority of people in our industry have eaten shot game all of their lives, from childhood- and during times where food testing and scanning was less comprehensive than it is today.

It is natural for them to be somewhat sceptical of lead impacts, given that they have eaten it all their lives without any quantifiable impact on their health.

That said, if quantitative and comparative science on lead in foodstuffs comes forward to suggest real dangers to eating products containing traces of lead then, of course, due diligence must be heeded.

Improvements have been made in non-lead ammunition in recent years. However, our members require to use reliable ammunition which takes into account animal welfare and shot safety. The evidence on these issues, amongst practitioners, remain mixed.

In Norway, for example, where a ban on lead was in place, the decision was made to reverse it on the grounds that the non-lead alternatives used did not offer a ‘clean kill’, in comparison.

Our members, whose responsibility it is to control wildlife populations, want to have confidence that the ammunition they are using is going to be effective, quick and humane. This is considered to be of paramount importance.

While they seek to be environmentally responsible, it is not their desire to be wounding animals during population control or to be endangering public safety due to issues such as higher frequency of shot ricochet from objects. Rather than shooing lead out the door without proper impact monitoring, they would prefer that trials were carried out, guided by practitioner knowledge, under ‘field’ conditions, allowing decisions to flow from there.

If alternatives were readily available on the market, which could match or improve upon the lead product in these regards, more people would be confidently switching, or would have switched already.

That said, as wildlife managers, it is not SGA members’ responsibility to manufacture new ammunitions. The manufacturers must take some initiative in providing viable alternatives in the marketplace, making them available at an affordable price.

The SGA agrees that environmental concerns are highly important. However, lead impacts must be better studied in case we fail to see other dangers rearing in our blindspot.


Following the joint announcement today by the UK’s leading shotgun cartridge manufacturers, SACS wishes to provide further clarification on its participation with the joint statement released by the nine shooting organisations in relation to the proposed five-year transition away from lead shot for live quarry shooting.

It is SACS’ understanding that the trade and cartridge manufacturers were consulted about the proposed transition and that the Gun Trade Association itself had engaged with its relevant trade members. Furthermore, the GTA provided the organisations with a guidance document, which we shared with our members and community at the time of the announcement on Monday. SACS signed the joint statement on this basis.

The issue over lead shot cannot be ignored; it is a genuine threat and SACS wishes to work collaboratively with other shooting organisations AND cartridge manufacturers to find a suitable solution and way forward for all.

SACS is a grassroots shooting and country sports representative body that exists to support its members and stands for integrity and truth. The hard work and commitment from the SACS team is self-evident, from individual member help to national scale advocacy. We work proactively with our members’ best interests in mind, addressing difficult – and sometimes controversial – issues. It is our duty to make our members aware of these challenges and to find practical and timely solutions, in partnership with other bodies where appropriate.

Our committee position is clear: lead shot faces serious challenges, which we have all known about since at least 2010. There is acceptance from all organisations that alternatives to lead exist and can be further developed, though clearly that must be in a realistic timeframe. No-one is better-placed to judge that timeframe than the cartridge manufacturers themselves.

SACS members with any questions on this matter are welcome to call 01350 724228 or email or send a message to the Facebook page.


A joint statement on the future of shotgun ammunition for live quarry shooting

In consideration of wildlife, the environment, and to ensure a market for the healthiest game products, at home and abroad, we wish to see an end to both lead and single-use plastics in ammunition used by those taking all live quarry with shotguns within five years. The shooting community must maintain its place at the forefront of wildlife conservation and protection. Sustainability in our practices is of utmost importance.

Recently, there have been significant developments in the quality and availability of non-lead shotgun cartridges, and plastic cases can now be recycled. For the first time, biodegradable shot cups for steel shot are available. These welcome advances are continuing at an ever-quickening pace, in response to demand from a changing market. Such advances mean that, over the coming years, a complete transition is achievable.

We are jointly calling for the shooting community to engage in this transition and work with us, the Gun Trade Association and the cartridge manufacturers to ensure that further viable alternatives are developed for every situation involving live quarry.

This is a vital step we must make together to safeguard our wildlife and the wider environment.

Sir Jim Paice, GWCT Chairman

Tom Adams, BGA Managing Director

Ian Bell, BASC Chief Executive

Tim Bonner, CA Chief Executive

Mark Tufnell, CLA Vice President

Amanda Anderson, MA Director

Liam Bell, NGO Chairman

Sarah-Jane Laing, SLE Chief Executive

Alex Stoddart, SACS Director