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Lead Shot Regulations

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the extent of lead poisoning as a cause of death for birds. (95187)

Restrictions on shooting over wetlands, and the use of lead weights for fishing, have made a substantial contribution to reducing the contamination of wetland sites and the waterbirds they support. However, some research has shown there is a level of non-compliance in relation to wildfowl.

Work has also been undertaken by Natural England, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and others on the red kite. Initial findings suggest that some red kites are being killed by ingesting lead contained within species on which they are scavenging. Lead within prey species could be from both shotgun cartridges and fragments from rifle bullets. Other predatory species may also be affected, but insufficient research has been carried out to demonstrate this.

My Department is planning to let a contract for a study to identify methods of monitoring compliance with restrictions on shooting over wetlands.