Nine of the main shooting, conservation and countryside organisations have joined forces to condemn the illegal use of lead shot.

In a signed statement, the group said: “Compliance with the current restrictions is critical if there is not to be a further restriction, or a complete ban, on the use of lead for shooting in the United Kingdom.”

The nine organisations — BASC; the Countryside Alliance; the Union of Country Sports Workers; The Moorland Association; the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust; the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation; the Scottish Gamekeepers Association; the Country, Land & Business Association (CLA); and Scottish Land & Estates — said they “jointly agree to make every effort to ensure compliance with the lead shot regulations in the United Kingdom”.

The statement adds: “As joint signatories of the Code of Good Shooting Practice, they have already called for non-lead shot only to be used during any game or rough-shooting that might otherwise result in spent lead shot being deposited into wetland areas used by feeding waterfowl.”

The use of lead shot over foreshore, certain Sites of Special Scientific Interest and for the shooting of all duck, geese, coots and moorhens has been illegal in England since 1999, in Wales since 2002 and in Northern Ireland since 2009.

Scottish law differs slightly, where it has been illegal to use lead shot for any species or target, whether game or clay, over wetlands since 2004.

A BASC spokesman told Shooting Times that the statement “builds on previous work and emphasises how all organisations committed to responsible shooting are working together”.

The campaign for compliance with the laws on the use of non-lead shot will be launched at the CLA Game Fair this year, which takes place from 19 to 21 July at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire.

Shoots and shoot providers are being encouraged to pledge their support, and a website for the campaign will go live at that time.

A spokesman from the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation told Shooting Times: “The lead shot regulations have been in place for many years now and while some may still criticise them, there is no excuse whatever for breaking the law. The shooting world is only as strong as its weakest link and anyone who commits illegal acts does harm to the sport’s reputation.”

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Shooting groups unite over illegal use of lead shot