WWT has welcomed the Government’s announcement to review the progress of the Lead Ammunition Group, of which WWT is a member.
The Group was set up in 2010 in response to urgent concerns about the toxic effects of ammunition
made of lead, which is a poisonous substance to all forms of life.
Most lead shot misses its target and falls to the ground where it can be ingested by several species of birds including swans, ducks and geese who mistake it for food or the grit they use to grind food.
WWT research has found that 1 in 3 wild birds sampled suffer from lead poisoning, and that it was the cause of death for 1 in 12 dead wild birds sampled.
Environment Minister Lord De Mauley, answering a written question, told the House of Lords “the (Lead Ammunition) group has agreed to provide a report to Ministers in April 2013 and Defra will review the progress of the group at this stage”.
WWT Chief Executive Martin Spray said:
“Lead is a poison, yet we still allow thousands of tons of it to be spread across our countryside. Thousands of birds suffer and die from ingesting lead shot left on the ground.
“The Lead Ammunition Group’s work is crucial in assessing the damage caused to wildlife and people by lead shot. It was set up in response to an urgent request in 2010 and there is a danger that, with still no sign of a final report, the group could be seen to be moving too slowly while wildlife continues to suffer and die.”
“The group’s commitment to publishing an interim report in April sends a strong signal that it is getting on with the job, and I welcome the Government’s decision to review the group’s progress thereafter”.
The Minister was responding to a question from Lord Jones of Cheltenham which cleared up different timescales given to each chamber of Parliament. The Minister also clarified information heard by the House of Commons about the levels of lead in chocolate compared to pheasant shot with lead. Both answers can be read here and here.
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
- WWT saves wetlands worldwide – a critical habitat which is disappearing at an alarming rate. We act to identify and save severely threatened wildlife, such as the Madagascar pochard, which has been given a more secure future thanks to our decades of experience in conservation breeding.
- Our researchers have been monitoring wildlife in the UK for more than 60 years, observing changes and finding solutions.
- We put people at the heart of all our work, because conservation needs support to succeed.
- And we share what we learn with experts around the world and with our 200,000+ members, the 60,000 school children who come on an educational visit to our nine wetland visitor centres in the UK, and the million people who visit us each year to enjoy a wetland experience.
- We manage over 2,600 hectares of wetlands across the UK which between them support over 200,000 waterbirds and other wildlife.