Aim to Sustain Lead Transition Statements for Spring 2024

All Aim to Sustain partner organisations are fully committed to the voluntary transition away from lead shot – significant progress has been made as we enter the fifth year of the transition, but all major organisations representing the shooting community understand that there is further to go. Aim to Sustain will continue to make the positive argument, encouraging all shoots and shooters to make the transition away from lead shot.

Aim to Sustain – Spike Butcher 

“Aim to Sustain partners remain committed to a voluntary five-year transition to sustainable shotgun ammunition for live quarry shooting.

Manufacturers, Aim to Sustain partners, shoots and guns have embraced this transition since it was first announced.

Effective, affordable, and sustainable shotgun ammunition has been developed – and the choice for all has been broadened.

This is an important issue that shows our sector takes seriously our responsibilities for environmental impact and food quality.”

National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) – Dave Pooler

“The NGO fully supports a sustainable future for shooting. Gamekeepers are always on the lookout for new ways of working to help manage their land for the benefit of protected habitats, birds and wildlife, as well as the wider environment. 

With that in mind, many shoots and people within the shooting communities have made the transition to non-lead ammunition, and we are delighted that these numbers continue to grow.

We believe that game meat is a healthy option that should be more widely available, and by using alternatives to lead ammunition in shotgun cartridges there will be greater scope to increase the sale of game meat to a broader audience. 

“Working together, testing new products in the field and giving constructive feedback will help speed up the development of alternatives.”

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) – Ian Bell

“BASC is committed to the transition away from lead shot and single use plastics; outstanding progress from the manufacturers has delivered a range of viable alternatives.

The shooting sector is demonstrating leadership and future-proofing our way of life while providing the very best of wild game for the table. This is irrefutable evidence that our community can innovate and adapt.

To continue shaping the countryside in a positive manner, BASC encourages all shoots and shots to continue the move away from lead and single-use plastics.”

Country Land and Business Association (CLA) – Gavin Lane

“The CLA is committed to phasing out lead shot over the five-year transition period agreed by shooting and rural organisations and is encouraged by the progress made to date.

A rising number of shoots have already gone lead-free, and the cartridge manufacturers are able to offer an increasing range of viable alternatives to lead.

In the light of this progress, the CLA would encourage individuals and shoots to transition to steel and other alternatives as soon as possible.”

Gun Trade Association – Simon West 

“The change away from lead ammunition is a huge task for the cartridge industry but we are making good progress. The massive challenge of re-machining and fighting supply chain issues remains an enduring challenge.

 Research and development have produced some highly effective shotgun cartridge solutions, and all of the UK manufacturers are now generating limited supplies of world-leading lead-free products with non-plastic wads.  As production ramps up in the coming years, game shooting supplies will be an industry priority to meet customer demand.” 

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) – Roger Draycott

“The GWCT continue to support the voluntary transition from lead to sustainable ammunition. This process is a very good example of how the game shooting sector can regulate itself effectively and we are seeing an increasing number of guns and shoots embracing change. Indeed, the GWCT’s own demonstration shoot at the Allerton Project is now lead free, a move which has been welcomed by all our visiting guns.”

Eat Wild – Louisa Clutterbuck

“Eat Wild is committed to supporting the shift away from lead shot in the pursuit of a more sustainable future. Our collaboration with major retail outlets and the public has unequivocally demonstrated a growing enthusiasm for lead-free wild game meat. 

The critical issue at hand is the need for a consistent supply to meet this burgeoning demand. If supermarkets are unable to maintain a steady stream of lead-free game meat products, there’s a legitimate risk that they may discontinue selling game altogether. To safeguard the future of a thriving and health-conscious game meat market, it is imperative that every bird shot is integrated into the food chain. The singular path towards achieving this is the complete removal of lead shot from the equation. Eat Wild stands resolute in advocating for this essential transition.”

Scottish Land & Estates – Ross Ewing 

“In future, it will become more and more difficult to sell lead-shot game into the food chain so we are encouraging shoots on members’ landholdings to make the transition to non-lead shot as soon as they can.  The future social acceptability of game shooting depends on being able to sell high quality game meat – a market which is expanding thanks to marketing efforts but is sensitive to food safety issues.  Scottish Land & Estates strongly supports the long-term objective of taking lead shot out of the game shoot sector.”

The Countryside Alliance – Tim Bonner

‘As game shooting comes under increasing political scrutiny it is vital that we are seen to be a progressive sector which takes responsibility for its social and environmental impact. Moving away from lead ammunition to non-toxic alternatives as soon as possible, and ahead of lead being banned by law, is a clear signal that game shooting is a dependable custodian of our countryside. The development of alternative ammunition has accelerated since we set out our ambition and there is now a viable option for nearly every gun in nearly every game shooting situation.”

Game Farmers’ Association (GFA) – Dominic Boulton

“Although the Game Farmers’ Association (GFA) represents the game rearing sector rather than the shooting sector our futures are one and the same. The GFA recognises that the future of game shooting is dependent on the transition away from lead to non-toxic shot and is wholly supportive of this initiative. Along with our partner organisations at Aim to Sustain, the GFA will do everything it can to encourage and facilitate this process.”

Moorland Association – Andrew Gilruth

“Driven grouse shooting is one of the world’s most successful conservation success stories. Moorland managers have led the way in best protecting and maintaining some of the rarest habitat on earth – heather and wild grouse moorland. This astonishing success has been secured through constant innovation. More recently that has involved trials of new lead-free ammunition types. We congratulate the progress manufacturers have made in producing a raft of new ammunition types that they feel address the historic unwanted consequences such as introducing plastic cups into the environment or poor welfare issues.”