English government plans lead cartridge ban

England’s government is considering a lead ban. That’s despite a voluntary phase-out by 2025 promised by shooting and countryside organisations last year. According to The Daily Telegraph, the Environment Agency doesn’t think the phase-out is moving quickly enough.

According to a media release, the agency and the Health and Safety Executive will spend the next two years reviewing evidence and consulting the public before coming up with restrictions.

The shooting organisations’ responses are mixed. The GWCT says the move is in line with the interim findings of its survey of shooters on lead. BASC says the government may be making a mistake.

Pro lead shot campaigners are worried about the science that Ms Pow uses to back up her call for a ban. They are particularly concerned about the following statements in Ms Pow’s order:

‘50,000- 100,000 wildfowl die each year due to ingesting pellets lead from used pellets’. Pro lead shot campaigners says that this figure is an extrapolated estimate based on a small study of around 20 birds found dead at Wildfowl & Wetland Trust sites. The WWT is a keen anti lead shot campaigner. The pro lead shot side argues that there was no isotopic study into the source of the ‘lead poisoning’. Therefore, there is no evidence to support the WWT scientists’ assertions that these few deaths were caused by spent lead pellet ingestion and result in the deaths of up to 10% of the wintering wild duck population.

‘A large volume of lead ammunition is discharged every year over the countryside, causing harm to the environment, wildlife and people’. The pro lead shot campaigners ask what study has been done about historical industrial lead compound pollution of the environment?  They say that leaded petrol put up to 400 tonnes a day of highly poisonous lead compounds into the environment in UK up until the government phased it out – equivalent to 17 million 12-bore shotgun cartridges. They point to the greater weight of lead on roofs, lead flashings, lead water and gas pipes which, they say, are as much in the environment as spent shotgun pellets

‘Lead ammunition finds its way into the wider environment and food chain’. Pro lead shot campaigners say they can find no evidence for this. The Norwegians and Swedes have checked the land in and around rifle ranges, for instance, and can find no evidence to support these assertions.

Mark Crudgington of GibbsGunmakers.com is among those who feels that British shooters have been rolled over. Even without the proposed government lead shot ban, the organisations’ five-year plan to ban lead shot and plastic wads in cartridges for game ignores, he says, fundamental holes in the science surrounding lead. Meanwhile, Andrew Venables of WMSFirearmsTraining.co.uk makes the case for maintaining the trajectory of the lead shot phase-out.

Many shooters feel they are caught in the middle of an argument that has little to do with lead shot and a lot to do witth banning shooting. As one Fieldsports Channel viewer puts it: ‘If those pressing for a lead ban would only show us that the game is worth the candle, and undertake to mitigate the financial impact, it would go a very long way to making this an initiative everyone can feel good about. The current reality is clearly very different: no one pushing this move is showing us evidence of harm proportionate to the measures proposed, or proposing any mitigation of the costs imposed. Instead we are currently being simultaneously patronised and bullied and are almost certainly about to be mugged.’

Here are more of our lead shot films:

Lead shot: behind the ban

If you are giving up lead, the three contenders for your shotshells are steel, tungsten and bismuth. All these materials have their advantages and disadvantages.

Read More »

Lead shot ban shock

If you are giving up lead, the three contenders for your shotshells are steel, tungsten and bismuth. All these materials have their advantages and disadvantages.

Read More »
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