Minister misleads Westminister Committee

The Minister George Eustise replied to a question from Alex Cunningham MP over the huge level of non-compliance.

The Minister said “that the level of non-compliance was up to 70% in certain areas” This is misleading and does not relate to level of non-compliance.

The figure comes from the Compliance report carried out by the WWT and BASC between 2008-10, in the WWT survey of duck they said that 70% of the duck tested had lead in them.

This is not the level of non-compliance.

They could not prove where the duck where shot. The duck could have been shot in Northern Ireland or Scotland and sold in England. English shooter do not shoot enough duck to fill the market.

I have written to the Minister asking him to correct this mistake.




New Compliance report on lead shot

In the Westminister Hall debate on Lead Ammunition, Carolyn Harris MP said there was a new compliance report.

Carolyn Harris: The study was repeated in 2014 and showed that compliance had not improved, with an increased number of 77% of ducks sampled being shot illegally with lead.

The report that has to date not been made public, until I see it I can not comment on it.


Tim Bonner – Lead Ammunition debate

Westminster Hall debate on “usage of lead shot in ammunition” 

Tom Bonner writes: On Tuesday Gerald Jones, the Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, secured a one hour Westminster Hall debate on ‘usage of lead shot in ammunition’. Even the title of this discussion was odd in that it seemed to exclude discussion of lead bullets, but given that Mr Jones had never previously shown any interest in shooting it may just have been a misunderstanding.

He read out his opening statement from a script which sounded remarkably similar to the public statements made by the RSPB and Wildfowl and Wetlands trust. Indeed it was noticeable that there were more staff from those organisations in attendance than the three MPs (including Mr Jones) who were willing to argue for further restrictions on lead ammunition. As I have said before it is very sad that two organisations that do so much brilliant conservation work give such priority to a campaign which, is at least in part, clearly motivated by an antipathy to shooting as a whole.

A number of MPs, led by our own Chairman Simon Hart argued forcibly that there was no justification for a ban on lead ammunition. Simon declared an unusual interest in the debate by stating the fact that he was “probably the only Member who has been shot by a lead cartridge… It was about 35 years ago and I still carry 20 lead pellets in my left knee”‘ he added that “colleagues will judge whether that has affected my physical or mental state.”

Charles Walker MP stated that “tungsten, bismuth and hevi-shot cost five to seven times as much as lead. A significant part of most people’s shooting budget.”

Jim Shannon MP brought his experience shooting and wildfowling in Northern Ireland to the debate arguing that attempts to ban lead ammunition are “unjust and unfair and highlight the way in which science can be used and manipulated to suit a political agenda”.

Rishi Sunak MP and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP argued that evidence on the impact of lead ammunition in the UK has failed to pass rigorous academic scrutiny and the risks have been exaggerated. They also stated that a ban on lead would have serious implications for the gun trade, the rural economy and the natural environment

Alex Cunningham MP, a shadow Defra Minister, was forced to concede that there was no evidence in the UK of any premature death caused by lead ammunition which prompted Simon Hart to suggest that “unless he [Cunningham] can come up with that evidence, he is doing nothing more than mischief making”.

George Eustice MP responded for the Government and stated that since half of the Lead Ammunition Group members had resigned “we are therefore in a position in which we have no expert consensus about the impact of lead ammunition on wildlife or human health”, but did acknowledge that current compliance levels with existing legislation were disappointing.

This is not a matter of debate and is something that all speakers agreed on. Adherence with the current restrictions for shooting wildfowl and shooting over wetlands is non-negotiable. Using lead shot in contradiction of the regulations is not only environmentally damaging, but also risks the future use of lead ammunition for all shooting. None of us should think that it is acceptable either personally, or from those who we shoot with.

Tim Bonner
Chief Executive
Follow on Twitter @CA_TimB

You can see the full debate on this PDF file

Westminster hall debate Lead Shot Ammunition


Shooting News A Political, Political Ambush

Shooting News-News, Lies, rumour & fact. Reading is believing

A political, Political Ambush By Arnold Chapkis

4th December 2015

Briefing notes in light of: the Natural England and DEFRA contempt of Law and fairness, revealed in the ‘Buzzard’ Judicial Review by Mr Justice Ouseley, published 13/11/2015 – the publication of the ‘Oxford’ Symposium on Lead and other matters – a Judicial Review over ‘Lead’ in the making.


No UK based, (site-specific) independent, professional, empirical, science has ever been conducted in the UK or in England, to date. No adverse effect upon waterfowl or wildlife populations has been detected that can be linked to spent Lead Shot in the UK or England in particular. There are no records of spent Lead shot impacting in any adverse way upon the human food chain. The matter of spent Lead shot is an ideological and obsessive campaign driven by the RSPB and the WWT and their fellow travellers.


First, create the enemy (English shooting, for example). Then found a representative body for the enemy, and Infiltrate it; the BASC was created in 1981, (John Swift was present at its birth). It provided a number of useful services for its members. It also provided’ collaborative’ cover for the WWT and the RSPB, to embark upon a clandestine anti-lead ammunition campaign in partnership with John Swift’s BASC.

It lobbied for a ban on all Lead ammunition below its members radar, for decades. The deception was ultimately revealed (ironically) by the debacle of the Lead Ammunition Group. The troika had overplayed its hand. It also revealed the complicity of the DEFRA Wild Bird Policy Unit in the matter of lead Ammunition. The political partnership between government and the troika flourished under 13 glorious years of a field sports hating Labour government. The end of Labour was and is a serious blow to an overweening and now, almost fascist, birding lobby.

John Swift left the BASC in 2013 whilst remaining Chairman of the Lead Ammunition Group. The BASC has struggled ever since to repair the damage to its credibility. Because of the betrayal over Lead ammunition, English Shooting must now consider Judicial Review territory in the event DEFRA continues to treat with the RSPB and the WWT on the same terms as the past.

The Meretriciously named Oxford’ Symposium on Lead is a textbook example of the combining of political agenda driven science with the smooth deceptions of branding. It is a creature of the ideological campaign, driven by the RSPB, the WWT, and their followers. It is a marketing technique that in this context, circumnavigates consumer law. 

The correct taxonomy of the ‘Oxford’ Symposium on Lead is, The ‘Edward Grey Institute’ Symposium on Lead. The Edward Grey Institute a small department (some say club) specialising in ornithology. It is housed within the Department of Zoology, which in turn is a small department at Oxford University.

  • Part of the branding process is; get a ‘name’ (preferably a blast from the past) to provide a testimonial. A high priest of political science *Lord Krebbs stepped up to provided a ‘Forward’ to the Symposium. 
  • Professor Chris Perrins, ‘Warden of the Swans’, heads up Edward Grey. He hosted, and ‘Introduced’ the Symposium.
  • Generate a good strapline e.g., “50,000-100,000 wildfowl die each winter as a direct result of lead poisoning” (The ‘Oxford Symposium on Lead & the BBC). It is noted that even Lord Krebbs had difficulty swallowing that figure.
  • That is how to bake government policy – just add Ministers.

The Oxford Symposium on Lead in December 2014 anticipated the failure of the lead Ammunition Group that was inspired and launched in 2010 by Mr John Swift, the RSPB, and the WWT. The Symposium has now released its documentation in an attempt to rescue their anti-Lead campaign.

They wish to lobby DEFRA, and Natural England, at the Gerald Jones MP Westminster Hall debate on Lead ammunition on Tuesday 8th (4.30-5.30), and to exert pressure on an imminent Government statement that is due, regarding the successful Petition in defence of Lead Ammunition. .


*Lord Krebbs, none more political than he. Lobby fodder and political networker supreme – Badgers, Climate Change, Smoking, and Ornithology. He played the role of ‘science’ on the Blairite Labour party policy stage. His political involvement made his reputation, ultimately awarding him a seat in the House of Lords. His familiarity withthe government grant (funding) systems gained him the academic world’s adulation and respect. He is an ornithologist, who else therefore would the RSPB and the WWT turn to for the endorsement of their ideological bid against Lead ammunition, and how could he turn down the offer to be back in the limelight, since being sidelined by  the eclipse of Blairisam.


Lord Krebbs exhortations against Lead ammunition are selective. He quotes from the 1983 Royal Commission on Lead “efforts should be made to develop alternatives to lead shot”. He seems to have overlooked this bit of the Commission’s report:

6.42. “The effects of spent lead shot on water birds and lead fishing weights on swans have been described in paragraphs 3.16 and 3.17.  We know of little evidence of harmful effects of such lead on man, though the habit of some anglers, including young boys, of closing split shot weights between the teeth could add marginally to the intake of lead.”

3.16 “A report to the British Association for Shooting and conservation, the Royal Society for the protection of Birds and the wildfowl Trust on the poisoning of wildfowl in Great Britain by spent gun shot estimated that about 8,000 mallard each year die of poisoning from this source of lead, although this figure is a very small proportion of the overwintering mallard population and small compared with the direct losses from wildfowling”

Anyone reading the Royal Commission’s report will seen that all of the references to Lead shot and birds are provided exclusively by the RSPB, the WWT, and BASC. This is back in 1981/3. Two people, namely Ruth Cromie, and Deborah Pain, (WWT) have been in pole position on this subject ever since. Their names appear on the main documents of the ‘Oxford’ Symposium on Lead. They are both employed by the WWT. They were instrumental in the setting up of the Lead ammunition Group in 2010. Cromie was responsible for the libellous and flawed 2010 WWT/BASC Report to DEFRA concerning ‘compliance’ with the English regulation on the use of Lead ammunition.

The WWT and the RSPB’s are politically engaged in a mendacious crusade against shooting in general, and Lead ammunition in particular. They are desperate to make their fallacious anti-Lead allegations stick. However this political juggernaut of a campaign is dressed up, or whose right-on testimonial they elicit, their failure to provide valid, repeatable, empirical science, shines out. The ‘Oxford’ Symposium on Lead blatantly resorts to the toxic political gambit of evoking public fear and alarm over eating game. They wish to bounce Government Ministers into reacting to ‘public perception’ rather than the facts.

Their unwarranted influence upon DEFRA and National England is clearly revealed in the recent judgement by MR JUSTICE OUSELEY in Case No: CO/4133/2014 – 13/11/2015. We have seen their influence incite

DEFRA’S complicit actions when setting up of the Lead Ammunition Group, and we saw it in the blatantly dishonest 2010 WWT/BASC report on ‘Compliance’. See: –


One of the key characteristics of the ornithologist is an inexorable obsession for birds. The ‘Birders’ and ‘twitches’ world is most often one of compulsion. Not unlike the compulsive hand washer, their mindset is of clinical interest; and treatable to a degree. Beware, however deserving of sympathy, obsessive’s can be dangerous.


**Charles Nodder says (shooting times 2 Dec – see attached) that the illegal behaviour of DEFRA and Natural England, condemned in the recent the National Gamekeepers organisation victorious judicial review (see Link) “to react reasonably to the judgement”, and “Continued talk of victory is unhelpful”. He implies a threat, “we all depend

on it (Natural England) for decisions that affect many aspects of our sport, not least General Licences”. To paraphrase; don’t get cocky; if you do, DEFRA will revert to being as awkward as they were before, remember ‘shoo before you shoot’? 

Chares Nodder, who he? He is a worthy member of the shooting public, a PR Consultant, and a Shooting ‘media hack’. He is also a ‘political’ consultant to the National Gamekeepers Organisation. He provides a sort of ‘Pay and Display’ service to shooting media and organisations. Often used to send ‘smoke signals’, when the sender wishes to remain cloaked. Is Natural England/DEFRA launching a veiled threat? Ask Charles Nodder, DEFRA may be one of his clients. It is also possible that the Shooting Times gave him space in good faith to voice his personal heart felt view, we do not know.


A political, Political Ambush


Arnold Chapkis

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