Since Westminster signed the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) (November 1999) it is binding throughout the UK, but its implementation is a matter for the devolved governments. In England the lead shot regulations ban the use of lead shot over all foreshore, over specified SSSIs, and for the shooting of all ducks and geese, coot and moorhen – wherever they occur. The Welsh Assembly introduced similar regulations in September 2002. Scotland's regulations came into force at the end of March 2005 and Northern Ireland came into force in September 2009.
In England the lead shot regulations ban the use of lead shot over all foreshore, over specified SSSIs, and for the shooting of all ducks and geese, coot and moorhen, wherever they occur. For further details please contact BASC head office on 01244 573016.
DEFRA has recently reviewed the effectiveness of the regulations. It is currently considering how to respond to findings of low compliance in inland shooting areas.
The Welsh Assembly Government imposed restrictions on lead shot based closely on the English approach, from 1st September 2002. For further details please contact BASC Wales office on 01686 688861.
The system in Scotland is based around the RAMSAR definition of wetlands and BASC Scotland has produced a guide to how the law works. This can be downloaded by clicking the link below or you can contact the BASC Scottish office on 01350 723226.
Restrictions in Northern Ireland were put in place from 1 September 2009. These are based on the Scottish approach and prohibit the use of lead shot on or over any area of wetland for any shooting activity. Wetlands are defined as, regardless of size, any areas of foreshore, marsh, fen, peatland with standing water, regularly or seasonally flooded fields, and other water sources wheter they be natural or man-made, static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt. For further details please contact the BASC Northern Ireland office on 028 9260 5050.
It is vitally important that non-lead cartridges are used wherever lead shot is banned under the Regulations. It is in everybody’s interests that compliance is high.
In 2002 two thirds of ducks sampled at game dealers throughout the country had been shot with lead. This revealed a disturbing and damaging lack of compliance. The problem appeared greatest in inland shoots. In 2010 similar findings are causing the government to consider how to respond.
It is vital that the shooting community acts responsibly in this matter – and is seen to be responsible. Otherwise we could well face a total ban on lead shot.
Remember that shoot organisers (landowners, shoot captains, gamekeepers, agents and club chairmen) can be prosecuted, as well as the individual Gun, for allowing lead shot to be used illegally. Prosecution may also lead to loss of shotgun certificates and BASC insurance cover.
Wherever we are shooting, particularly inland, we must not tolerate irresponsible behaviour among those who shoot ducks and geese over the foreshore, important wetlands, and wherever else they are encountered – even if it is inconvenient to change cartridges.
Please note too that the Code of Good Shooting Practice, issued jointly by BASC, CA, CLA, GCT, NGO and other organisations, calls for non-lead shot to be used during any game or rough shooting which might otherwise deposit spent lead shot into wetland areas used by feeding waterfowl.
Information is available on a variety of subjects from BASC head office, including: the legislation itself; non-lead alternatives (especially steel shot); homeloading; and ensuring all guns on the shoot/in the club etc. comply with the lead shot regulations. Contact 01244 573016.
Environment Protection (Restrictions on Use of Lead Shot) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2003.
Available to download from: http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2003/20032512.htm
The Environmental Protection (Restriction on Use of Lead Shot) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2002.
Available to download from: http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2002/20022102.htm
The Environmental Protection (Restriction on Use of Lead Shot) (England) Regulations 1999.
Available to download from: http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si1999/19992170.htm
The Environmental Protection (Restriction on Use of Lead Shot) (Wales) Regulations 2002
Available to download from http://www.hmso.gov.uk/legislation/wales/wsi2002/20021730e.htm
The Environmental Protection (Restriction on Use of Lead Shot) (Scotland) (No.2) Regulations 2004.
Available to download from http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/ssi2004/20040358.htm
The Environmental Protection (Restriction on Use of Lead Shot) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009
Available to download from