Shooting and rural organisations take responsibility of move away from lead ammunition


Leading shooting and rural organisations have today announced they want an end to the use of lead and single-use plastics in shotgun ammunition for live quarry shooting within five years.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), British Game Alliance (BGA), Countryside Alliance (CA), Country Land and Business Association (CLA), Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO), The Moorland Association (MA), Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) and The Scottish Association for Country Sports (SACS) say significant recent advances in technology have enabled the transition to take place.

The group is calling for the support of the wider shooting community and says such a change will benefit wildlife and the environment while also safeguarding the growing market for healthy game meat.

A spokesperson said: “The shooting community must maintain its place at the forefront of conservation and environmental protection. Continued development of non-lead shot and recyclable and biodegradable plastics means the time is right for a complete transition.

“The five-year proposal allows for a smooth transition giving both the shooting community and the industry time to adapt. As organisations that serve our members, we will be leading the way with this transition ensuring that it is successful.

“This is a significant announcement, but one the shooting community should not fear. British wildfowlers and other European countries have already moved away from lead without detriment to participation or performance.

“While tradition is important in shooting and should be defended where possible, so is evolution if we are to continue to maintain our position at the heart of the British countryside. Shooting has changed greatly over the years and this move is just the next step in that illustrious history.

“Our organisations urge the shooting community to support the Gun Trade Association and cartridge manufacturers as they further develop ammunition for every situation involving live quarry. In doing so, they will enhance the shooting community’s reputation as the rightful custodians of our countryside.”

Quotes from individual organisations: 

Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner said: “This important announcement is a major step in ensuring the long term sustainability of shooting, and it is a step we are taking together.

“Unity is incredibly powerful, and to make such a joint statement with every major rural and game shooting organisation, demonstrates what a strong community we are.”

CLA deputy president Mark Tufnell said“The phased transition away from lead and single-use plastics in shotgun ammunition in live quarry shooting will make the environment a better place and will help develop the market for game.

“The length of time given for this proposal will give farmers, landowners and cartridge manufacturers the right time to adapt.”

NGO chairman Liam Bell said: “The shooting community must act as one to maintain its place at the forefront of wildlife conservation. Sustainability in all our practices is of the utmost importance and weaknesses must be addressed. Where we can make changes and improvements, we must, or regulation will follow as night follows day.”

Moorland Association director Amanda Anderson said: “Precious moorland managed by our members makes an important contribution to combating climate change and protecting very special landscapes and wildlife. We believe this decision to phase out the use of lead shot is consistent with our unshakeable commitment to the environment.”

BASC’s executive director of conservation Caroline Bedell said: “Ballistic developments of lead shot alternatives have come on leaps and bounds, this five year transition will set down a challenge to the shooting community, organisations and manufacturers, but also provides time to develop a route forward for a sustainable future for shooting.”