Whilst many would not fundamentally disagree with the conclusions of Thunderer ‘Shooters must give up lead shot for environment’s sake’, the errors and omissions in Jawad Iqbal’s column are worrying. The author seems unaware that the use of lead shot for the shooting of wildfowl and over many wetlands has been banned for 20 years as part of the UK’s involvement with the African Eurasian Waterbirds Agreement. That restriction resulted from clear evidence of the impact of lead shot on wildfowl and has the support of “rural groups”.
Mr Iqbal also fails to mention the Lead Ammunition Group created under the last Labour government. The group’s report, published in 2016, unfortunately failed to find any consensus and the government’s response was that the “report did not show that the impacts of lead ammunition were significant enough to justify changing current policy”. However, further legislative EU procedures are in motion; one process aims to standardise the wetland restrictions across Europe forcing changes within the UK, another newly started process could in time lead to a complete ban on lead ammunition. The UK Government has signalled its intent to remain a signature to the European Chemicals Agency, the body responsible for these processes.
Far from being “defensive” the shooting community recognises that further restrictions are likely. By working together, acting positively and promoting all research and development into new products, rural groups are looking to secure the future of shooting. Critical to progress is that any future legislation is proportionate and an industry worth over £2 billion annually to the rural economy is given the appropriate time to make any required transitions.
Tim Bonner, Chief Executive Countryside Alliance
Ian Bell, Chief Executive British Association for Shooting and Conservation
Teresa Dent, Chief Executive Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
Liam Bell, Chairman National Gamekeepers’ Organisation