There are just over 8 weeks to go before new lead shot restrictions come into force in Northern Ireland.

Anyone shooting with lead shot on or over wetlands on or after 1 September will be committing an offence and will be liable to prosecution. Conviction could result in a fine of up to £1,000.

The legislation applies to all wetlands, including all foreshore areas, in Northern Ireland. Therefore, all coastal wildfowling, including punt gunning, will have to be undertaken with non-lead shot.

Inland flight ponds, no matter how small, are counted as wetland features, as are fields that frequently flood or which include streams, ponds or other wetland features.

Shooting duck, geese, game, pests or clays away from wetlands will not be affected by the legislation.

BASC?s director for Northern Ireland, Roger Pollen, said: ?It is very important that all people who shoot in the Province are aware these new regulations come into force soon, as non-compliance could lead to prosecutions. Non-lead alternatives are widely available from all good gun dealers.?

Mr Pollen added some wildfowlers were sceptical about how the ban will be policed: ?Though enforcement of the new regulations is formally the responsibility of the police, wildfowlers have long been at the forefront of self-regulation and conservation for the benefit of the environment.?

Northern Ireland?s wildfowlers feel the ban on lead shot is an integral part of waterfowl conservation.

Jack Gilliland of the Strangford Lough Wildfowlers? & Conservation Association, in County Down, told Shooting Times magazine: ?We all knew this was coming and have accepted the restriction, though some of the more senior wildfowlers might not be so welcoming. However, there are still a few anomalies and unanswered questions. What if I am shooting on a lough that straddles Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where lead shot is not banned? I think the restriction may need to be revisited in a year or two.?

Tom McGoldrick of Fermanagh Wildfowling and Conservation Association, in County Fermanagh, said: ?I don?t think the restriction on using lead shot will be hugely detrimental to wildfowling. The guidance seems to be well-written and easy to understand.?

Let us know what you think about this!

  • TERRY YOUNG

    Totally agree with comments from William King,
    Jack Gilliland should write his own script.
    Tom McGoldrick who sits on the Wildfowl Liaison Committee at Marford Mill didn’t even know about the proposed ban on lead until I met him at Belfast Airport and informed him, many weeks after DOE first issued consultation documents to all protectionist bodies but none whatsoever to Wildfowling clubs.
    Membership organisation? I think not.

  • William King

    Disgraceful lack of consultation with local members from BASC N.I.
    8 weeks until the start of the season and still no communication to local members from BASC Northern Ireland – What are we to do with current holdings of lead shot in fowling sizes?
    Have local suppliers sufficient stocks of non-lead shot?
    Are local shooters aware of the impacts of non-lead shot on their equipment and methods?
    What of the issue of the huge cost of non-leadshot – BASC have introduced a subsidy for unemployed members in these harsh economic times, is any chance of a subsidy on shot for the members paying full membership fees?
    BASC NI, despite their propoganda, have not consulted widely with local widfowlers and seem to have made the high-handed decision that they know best how to proceed.
    Despite a chronic lack of any scientific eveidence of a lead shot problem in Northern Ireland, we are saddled with ban which is fatally flawed and will do little to protect wildfowl. What happens if a bird is shot on the foreshore of the Irish Republic(no lead ban) and is retrieved in Northern Ireland – would the ‘fowler be prosecuted & would BASC help with the defence?
    The lack of consultation has also been evident regarding the proposed moratorium (ban?) on Curlew
    – BASC seriously propose that at some vague point in the future, Curlew will be returned to the list, this despite a lamentable record of having no species returned to the quarry list in the past.
    It’s about time BASC started to consult with the grass-root membership – rolling over and appeasing protectionist organisations and government is not the way to protect the future of our sport.