01Emails between Defra and Lead Ammunition Group members reveal that the group is set to recommend a “phase-out and eventual elimination” of lead shot in the UK.

Released in response to a Freedom of Information request, an email dated 28 October 2014 sent by a redacted subject, who was set to attend a LAG meeting, says the group was heading towards a conclusion that “lead ammunition is harmful for both wildlife and human health” and alternatives are available “at comparable cost”.

The email, apparently in response to a correspondence about the Conference of the Parties of the Convention of Migratory Species (which recommended a lead-shot phase-out within three years), dismisses the views of shooting representatives and says “halfway houses as so far mooted by the shooting stakeholders do not stand up to scrutiny.”

LAG has not commented on the released correspondence – but BASC has been provoked into producing an official response, saying it was “shocked and angered” by the content of the emails.

The association’s chairman, Alan Jarrett, said: “To our best knowledge no report has been seen or approved by the Lead Ammunition Group.

“BASC’s policy on lead ammunition is clear – no sound evidence no change.

“We have not seen any evidence to change that policy.

“It would be wrong to do so on the basis of unattributed and partly redacted emails relating to a report that has not been published and hasn’t actually been delivered to the government.”

The organisation later went on to distance itself from LAG chairman John Swift, reminding its members that Mr Swift was not employed by, or a member of, BASC.



If I had to give you the heads up, it would be along the lines that the LAG process will point with complete certainty to the toxic nature of lead ammunition, qualified with equal certainty that precise effects and their extent can only be predicted with uncertainty. The conclusion to be drawn on all the evidence that I have so far seen is that lead ammunition is harmful for both wildlife and human health – it is not just a matter for wildfowl – and moreover that the alternatives are safe, effective and available at comparable cost. The dispersal of some thousands of tons of an accumulative, seriously toxic material every year is quite simply an insupportable thing to be doing for purposes of recreation and sport – especially if there are now alternatives that can well be used.

I have seen nothing that persuades me otherwise – although I am still in listening mode. I have not always been of this view and know that the shooting and landowning stakeholders say there isn’t really a problem and it’s all a conspiracy etc – but that really isn’t the case at all.

Hence, although one can quibble with words, the position taken by “the scientists” in their conclusion is a sensible and well founded one: namely to foresee “a phase out and eventual elimination of lead-based ammunition and its replacement with non-toxic alternatives”. I’m afraid that halfway houses as so far mooted by the shooting stakeholders do not stand up to scrutiny, and although there will predictably be arguments for more research there are reasons why it would not change the fundamental position.


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