Controversial plans from DEFRA to keep tabs on shooters? compliance with lead restrictions in England and Wales have been put on hold ? for now. The about turn by DEFRA has been put down to budget cuts as a result of the Single Farm Payment Scheme debacle. However, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is claiming it is the result of reservations and concerns voiced over the methodology and objectives of the research.

DEFRA originally aimed to test wildfowl bought from gamedealers to assess how many birds were shot with toxic shot. DEFRA then intended to tender a research project. Organisations would be invited to present the best and most workable ways in which to monitor shooters? compliance with the law. DEFRA has now altered the way in which it is going to conduct the research and the idea of inspecting birds from gamedealers has been scrapped.

John Harradine, director of research at BASC, warned shooters that though DEFRA has altered its plans, shooters must still be on their guard: ?The study that it is proposing isn?t going ahead, but another study looking at the methods of how best to monitor compliance is expected later this year. The research aims to inform DEFRA, in advance of next year?s research, how any lead shot compliance study should take place.