There has been a significant development in the protracted considerations of the Lead Ammunition Group (LAG) set up by Defra in 2010.
As those who have been following closely will know, the LAG process has been mind-numbingly slow and increasingly controversial.
So controversial in fact that half of the group resigned before LAG finally submitted its final report to Defra last year.
Those resignations included that of our then Executive Chairman, Barney White-Spunner, who said at the time that he left because of “abuses of process and evidence that render the group’s work so flawed it can never reach any scientific conclusions”.
Countryside Alliance are pleased to report that Barney’s position has been entirely vindicated by the previous Secretary of State for Environment, Liz Truss, who recently responded to LAG Chairman John Swift’s report. In her letter the Secretary of State rejects any further restrictions on the use of lead ammunition, let alone the total ban that John Swift proposed in his report.
The letter confirms that the Food Standards Agency will not be changing its advice on the consumption of game shot with lead ammunition and notes that “the report does not provide evidence of causation linking possible impacts of lead ammunition with sizes of bird populations”. In relation to both human health and wildlife the Secretary of State is clear: “the report did not show that the impacts of lead ammunition were significant enough to justify changing current policy; we therefore do not accept your recommendation to ban the use of lead ammunition”.
There is one further important point for those who have endured this debate over the last six years. The letter confirms absolutely that the LAG process is at an end.
Liz Truss does raise concerns that there may not be complete compliance with current regulations prohibiting the use of lead ammunition for shooting wildfowl or over wetlands, depending on the country in which you are shooting. Countryside Alliance endorse her message that those restrictions must be adhered to, and will continue to work for 100% compliance with our colleagues in other shooting organisations.