The shooting community in England is failing to comply with lead shot regulations, according to a new survey from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).

The WWT last week announced the results of a recent study it conducted on behalf of DEFRA, into compliance with lead-shot regulations.

For the study, which cost more than £60,000, the WWT bought 492 duck from English game dealers, butchers and supermarkets.

Analysis of the carcases showed that 70% had been shot with lead.

Additionally, the WWT?s report drew on a survey conducted by BASC into its members? attitudes to the lead shot regulations.

BASC was contracted to survey shooters and, with the assistance of the Country Land & Business Association (CLA), providers of shooting.

The WWT last week called for tougher enforcement of lead-shot regulations on the grounds that 45% of shooters interviewed as part of BASC?s survey admitted that they did not always comply with the law.

A BASC spokesman noted that the report does not give a full view of compliance with lead-shot regulations, saying: ?This report provides only a partial snapshot of the effectiveness of the regulations. It highlights a lack of compliance on some inland shoots that sell that coastal wildfowling, which covers many of the water-bird habitats that the regulations are designed to protect, is well regulated through the club system, but this would not be shown in the survey as duck are rarely sold to game dealers by wildfowlers.?

According to the WWT, the reasons given for failing to comply with the legislation included ?the belief that lead poisoning was not a sufficient problem to justify the regulations?.

Additionally, ?there were perceived issues surrounding availability, cost and efficiency of the alternatives to lead, together with a lack of enforcement of the regulations?.

Since 1999, in England lead shot regulations ban the use of lead over all foreshore, over specified SSSIs, and for the shooting of all duck and geese, coot and moorhen, wherever they occur.

Similar legislation was introduced in Wales in 2002.

The law in Scotland differs in that the restriction applies only to the use of lead shot over wetlands and is not species-specific.

Guns in England are potentially required to switch cartridge types a number of times depending on which species flies over them.

The complicated nature of the legislation, as well as the fact that it is species-specific and not habitat-specific, has prompted calls in some quarters for the law in England and Wales to be brought in to line with that in Scotland.

A CLA spokesperson told Shooting Times magazine that the association ?believes it is highly regrettable that shooting parties do not always comply with regulations on the restrictions of the use of lead shot as ammunition.

We agree with the recommendations of the environmental protection report and fully support the push to achieve best practice in this area?.

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