The future of lead ammunition is one of the biggest issues to face shooting in the past few decades, but one which can easily pass you by if the detail of scientific research and Westminster and EU political process turn you off. The Countryside Alliance is involved in the debate at every level and is working tirelessly on behalf of our members to make sure that the whole shooting community get their say on the use of lead ammunition and those that would like to see it banned cannot rely on false statements and scare stories.
The Lead Ammunition Group (LAG) has now been considering evidence for over 5 years and concerns have been growing about the process for some time. Correspondence published on the Defra website as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request has brought those concerns to a head and seems to confirm that the process has completely broken down. LAG was set up with representatives of a range of interest groups to consider the issues and to produce a report on risk and mitigation as a group, but the published correspondence suggests the Chairman is now working towards his own conclusions regardless of the views of many group members. This is far too important an issue to be decided on the basis of a contentious report and there is no doubt that any report containing the conclusion that lead based ammunition should be phased out would be exactly that, as Defra itself suggests in the FoI correspondence. The case for a complete ban is further weakened by recent developments on the continent where the Norwegian parliament has voted to overturn a ban on lead ammunition outside wetlands and the EU has halted moves to restrict all lead products.
The relevant science being considered by LAG has all been published on its website and having discussed this with experts we are clear that it does not meet the standard required to justify further restrictions on lead shot, let alone a complete ban. However those who have been campaigning for a ban on lead shot, and leaked Wildlife and Wetland Trust documents have revealed exactly how extensive that campaign is, were set on their conclusions before LAG was even formed as, it now seems, was its Chairman. Our Executive Chairman, Barney White-Spunner, sits on LAG as the representative of the shooting community. LAG’s considerations are confidential, but you can be certain that he, and I am sure others, will demand proper scientific justification for any conclusions LAG comes to.