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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