Effectiveness of regulations intended to reduce the use of lead shotgun ammunition in and over coastal intertidal and riparian habitats in Scotland

  • Published source details Green R.E., Goater R., Hodgson D., Lang I., Orr-Ewing D.C., Pickett D. & Swann B. (2023) Effectiveness of regulations intended to reduce the use of lead shotgun ammunition in and over coastal intertidal and riparian habitats in Scotland. Conservation Evidence, 20, 40-46.


The use of lead shot for hunting in wetlands is banned in many countries because ingestion of spent shot causes lead poisoning of wildfowl. In Scotland (UK), the Environmental Protection (Restriction on Use of Lead Shot) (Scotland) (No. 2) Regulations 2004 were introduced to reduce the exposure of wildfowl to lead shot by making its use in wetlands unlawful. We assessed the degree to which the regulations are being complied with by wildfowlers by conducting analyses of the shot metal type contained within shotgun cartridges discarded in coastal intertidal and riparian habitats across Scotland. Despite efforts to encourage compliance with the regulations, which had been in force for 17-18 years at the time of the surveys, about half of the cartridges used appeared to have contained lead gunshot, indicating unlawful use. Hence, efforts to restrict the use of lead ammunition in coastal and riparian wetlands by regulation, with the intention of reducing the risk of lead poisoning of waterfowl, have had limited effectiveness so far.

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