Why we’re calling for a ban on lead shot ammunition within the UK: An open letter

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In February 2020, UK taking pictures organisations known as for a whole voluntary phasing out of using lead shotgun ammunition for recreation taking pictures over 5 years. Two years in, a current research has discovered no lower in any respect in its use. Over 6000 tonnes of lead shot are nonetheless launched into the UK countryside every year, posing a major danger to the well being of individuals, gamebirds, wildlife and livestock and resulting in lasting contamination of our wild locations.

What can we hope to attain?

The RSPB and WWT are advocating new laws to finish using lead shotgun ammunition for taking pictures recreation animals within the UK. The supply of efficient and comparably priced non-lead ammunition for shotgun shooters means there ought to be no actual sensible obstacles to transition. We recognise the appreciable efforts that taking pictures organisations have made to encourage progress in direction of the phasing-out of lead shotgun ammunition, however these haven’t been sufficient. We at the moment are calling on these organisations to hitch conservationists in urgent the federal government for a ban throughout the timescale they proposed.

Bewick’s Swan, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the surfbirds galleries

Lead: the story to date

Lead is a non-threshold poison. Merely put, there isn’t a protected stage, for folks or wildlife. It will get into the ecosystem and strikes up the meals chain, ultimately affecting predators and people. This poison is already banned from most shopper merchandise together with petrol and paint, so it makes absolute sense that the ban ought to now be prolonged to ammunition.

Lead shot has been completely banned in Denmark and the Netherlands, and as of 2021 it was banned in all EU wetlands. Within the UK, it’s only partially banned in sure wetlands and for sure species. In England and Wales, its use is prohibited in sure wetlands and for taking pictures wildfowl, coot and moorhen, whereas in Scotland and Northern Eire, it’s banned in wetlands (the place a extra restrictive definition of wetlands is utilized than that used for the EU ban). Poor compliance has been discovered for each the voluntary and the partial regulatory bans within the UK and lead shot can nonetheless be legally utilized in terrestrial areas the place it continues to danger the well being of birds foraging in these habitats. Nonetheless, printed proof – based mostly on identification of shot metals in pheasant and duck, lead focus in gamebird and duck meat and lead concentrations in raptor livers – has indicated good compliance with the total regulatory ban in Denmark.

The UK Authorities has requested a UK REACH (Registration, Analysis, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical compounds) course of to contemplate such a ban and can quickly attain a essential stage.

To that finish, WWT and the RSPB have written an open letter to taking pictures organisations to name for a statutory ban from the UK authorities.

Learn the total open letter

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