Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner writes: I am happy to be able to update you on where we are with the lead issue following my resignation from the Lead Ammunition Group a few weeks ago. I promised that we were in no way moving away from the issue and can now explain what I mean by that. Two Lead Ammunition Group (LAG) reports have now been presented to Defra.  The first report has been tabled by the Chairman John Swift, and is the same report over which we raised over 170 comments and with which we refused to be associated, hence the resignation from the LAG. A second report has now been tabled by the now four ex-members of the LAG. As well as the Countryside Alliance this new group includes the Gun Trade Association, National Game Dealers Association and the Country Land and Business Association, with the support of the British Association of Shooting and Conservation.

Our report has made full use of all available scientific material, reached balanced and objective conclusions, and we have made a series of recommendations to Defra based on the evidence presented rather than on any previously held positions as regards the use of lead. We will release the full report in due course once we have received an indication from Defra that they are happy for us to do so.

The reports are both now with Defra and it is for Defra officials to decide how to take the matter forward and how to deal with the fractured Lead Ammunition Group. However, we feel quietly confident that the decision from Defra will allow us to continue to move this debate cohesively forward.