Lead Statement from CPSA CEO Iain Parker


As we have reported to our membership, the HSE have raised the question of the viability of lead use in ammunition and pressed upon ourselves, the CPSA, and our fellow shooting associations, the need to mitigate risk from lead shot cartridges across the UK. We have been involved in discussions with the HSE during their public consultation period and as associations and NGBs, we have worked together and agreed to focus and speak for our respective sports. 

In reply to the HSE we challenge assumptions drawn during their consultation period, and as the national governing body for the sport of clay target shooting our position remains to put forward the argument and a case to keep using lead shot cartridges. It is our responsibility to support the best interests of our membership and we strongly object to the proposed lead ban and argue for its continued use in our sport.

Lead shot on the ground is inert and there has been no proof of demonstrable harm to flora or fauna on CPSA affiliated grounds, where both leisure and competitive shooting takes place using lead shot. In over 100 years of clay target shooting there have been no reported cases of lead poisoning through use of lead cartridges. Reportedly over 60% of lead cartridges in current production for sport shooting are made from recycled lead from heavy industry such as automotive car batteries, while steel cartridges have a much higher carbon footprint to manufacture.  

In response to the HSE, our proposal to mitigate the potential risk posed by lead shot is as follows. Our current position for clay shooting allows shooters to use 28g lead cartridges, which has been identified as a risk if allowed to continue through the potential misuse of clay cartridges in game shooting and, in turn, contamination of the food chain. As the national governing body for clay shooting, we would propose to restrict lead loads from 28g to 24g (a 15% reduction) at all clay shooting grounds. This change would mitigate the risk of migration, as 24g is not a viable game load, while also bringing our policy in alignment with that of the ISSF standard cartridge load. HSE needs to consider limitations to performance levels of steel, risks, and ammunition availability within the UK. We must insist our international competitors, Commonwealth and Olympic athletes, not be disadvantaged when competing on a global stage.

Through our work on this matter, we have come to understand the complexity faced by the government in any legislation regarding lead ammunition and the difficulties posed by those sectors within shooting, like ourselves, who will demand exemption where risk from lead can be controlled. We have worked collaboratively with the HSE and other organisations during this consultation period and ask the HSE to recognise both the social and economic value of shooting as a sport and to consider the significant disruption to our sector if lead shot cartridges were to be banned. We at the CPSA strongly request an exemption from the HSE proposed restrictions in order to protect our members and our sport.

Iain Parker