The Lead Ammunition Group (LAG) has again delayed the publication of its progress report, initially due April 2013, but says it is likely to report “in early 2014”.
Recent meetings of the group have seen risk assessments for wildlife from lead consumption presented to the group. It has delayed the publication of these assessments, however, while a set of consensus conclusions between the assessments is produced.
At the eighth LAG meeting in October 2013, Defra told members of the group that “ministers have been expecting LAG to report for some time” and that it needed to give Parliament sufficient time to consider its recommendations before it dissolved in spring 2015. This means a report is required in 2014.
At the latest LAG meeting on 19 December, however, the group’s Primary Evidence and Risk Assessment Subgroup said it had not been able to produce a consensus report of all risk assessments in time, effectively meaning the group was considering minority reports and further prolonging the discussion process.
The meeting saw a discussion of which UK species populations were affected by lead. Meeting notes state that “It was generally agreed that none could be identified, except probably for waterfowl.”
The Gun Trade Association’s John Batley also corrected previously stated figures on the estimated number of cartridges spent per bird shot. He stated it was around a 4:1 ratio, as opposed to the group’s earlier estimate of 13:1.
Group members also agreed that “more should be done to enforce the current ban on the use of lead shot for shooting wildfowl and over prohibited sites and wetlands.”
But an overall report or set of recommendations to ministers is yet to come. The group is next to meet on 24 February.