National Game Dealers Association going lead-free from July 2022

The National Game Dealers Association (NGDA) is the latest organisation from the UK game-shooting industry to realise, belatedly and after years of resisting, that if it is to survive then dropping products shot with toxic lead ammunition is the only way to go.

The NGDA has issued the following statement this morning:

At the National Game Dealers Association ( NGDA) annual general meeting members voted to commit to sourcing all feather and fur Game as well as venison and wild boar from lead-free supply chains from the 1st of July 2022.

This was agreed in order to future proof the sale of Game meat in their customer’s businesses, and to ensure continued consumer growth from those people seeking to enjoy our healthy delicious game products. This is a positive move for our industry to protect the environment and further assure our products in a highly competitive market place. The NGDA and its members will be working with the relevant industry groups to ensure, with this notice, our supply chains are able to make a transition.

If you have any concerns as a supplier to an NGDA member, please discuss your individual requirements with them or the NGDA.

Thank you

Stephen Crouch

Chairman National Game Dealers Association.


This U-turn from the NGDA comes hot on the heels of an announcement from the Westminster Government last week that it was planning to phase out the use of poisonous lead ammunition (see here).

Amusingly, some commentators from the game shooting industry are trying to portray the NGDA’s U-turn as an example of how the industry can take sensible decisions all by itself instead of having to be dragged, kicking and screaming, in to the 21st Century by the rest of us.

Not very convincing when you consider that the NGDA Chair, Stephen Crouch, was one of those who resigned from the Lead Ammunition Group in May 2015 when the group’s official report to Government advocated a recommendation to ban the use of lead ammunition. Mr Crouch, along with the others who resigned (John Batley, Gun Trade Assoc; Mark Tufnell, Country Land & Business Assoc; Barney White-Spunner, Countryside Alliance) argued there was insufficient evidence to support such a move!!

The scientific evidence to support a ban on toxic lead ammunition, for the sake of human health, wildlife and the environment, has not changed at all since 2015. It’s just built and built and built.

It’s good to see the tipping point has finally been reached, after years and years of ongoing hard work by scientists such as Professor Debbie Pain and Professor Rhys Green (see here for their latest findings which showed that one year in to a so-called ‘voluntary transition’ away from lead shot by the UK game shooting industry, virtually no actual progress had been made). Although with the industry still dragging its feet and arguing that there aren’t enough supplies of non-toxic ammunition available yet and there won’t be for another four years, it’ll be fascinating to see whether the NGDA can source lead-free products from next year.

Nevertheless, it’ll be like watching falling dominos now. There is no chance of stopping what has been started. It’s just shameful that it has taken this long to get here.

3 thoughts on “National Game Dealers Association going lead-free from July 2022”

  1. The Rt Hon George Eustice MP Secretary of State for Environment,
    Food and Rural Affairs
    Seacole Building
    2 Marsham Street
    SW1P 4DF
    T 03459 335577
    Derek Thomas MP
    House of Commons
    SW1A 0AA
    Your ref: DT63548
    Our ref: MC2020/23068/MK
    26 March 2021
    Dear Derek,
    Thank you for your letter of 15 August on behalf of your constituents about the illegal killing of hen harriers and other birds of prey, and management practices associated with driven grouse shooting. Please accept my sincere apologies for the considerable delay in responding. Defra is currently dealing with high volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time.
    Wildlife crime is a priority for the Government; consequently Defra and the Home Office have committed £300,000 a year to fund the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) until 2020/21. The NWCU helps prevent and detect wildlife crime by obtaining and disseminating intelligence and undertaking analysis which highlights local or national threats, and directly assisting law enforcers in their investigations. Decisions on 2021/22 funding of the NWCU will be taken as part of the Government’s one year Spending Review.
    All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. There are strong penalties in place for offences committed against birds of prey and other wildlife, with significant sanctions available to judges to hand down to those convicted of wildlife crimes. Most wildlife crimes carry up to an unlimited fine and/or a six-month custodial sentence and there are no plans to review or amend these penalties. It is important to remember that the enforcement of all offences, including wildlife offences, is an operational matter for the police. The police monitor and gather intelligence on online activity relating to crimes against birds and other wildlife to inform their investigations.
    To address concerns about illegal killing of birds of prey, senior Government and enforcement officers have identified raptor persecution as a national wildlife crime priority. Priority areas are those which are assessed as posing the greatest current threat to either the conservation status of a species or which show the highest volume of crime and therefore they are assessed as requiring an immediate UK-wide tactical response. Each priority area has an implementation plan with plan owners and leads identified for the prevention of crimes and enforcement.
    Defra sits on the police-led Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group, which takes forward activities to raise awareness and facilitate intelligence and incident reporting, leading to increased prevention and enforcement activity. The group focuses on the golden eagle, goshawk, hen harrier, peregrine, red kite and white-tailed eagle. The Government also supports Operation OWL, which is led by police forces across England and Wales and aims to raise awareness of raptor persecution amongst the wider public and police officers.
    We are committed to securing the long-term future of the hen harrier as a breeding bird in England and last year Natural England recorded the best year for hen harrier breeding in England since its hen harrier recovery project was established in 2002. The Hen Harrier Action Plan sets out what will be done to increase hen harrier populations in England, including measures to address illegal persecution. The long-term plan was published in January 2016 and we believe that it remains the best way to safeguard the hen harrier in England. A copy of the plan is available at:
    The Government recognises the conservation and economic benefits that shooting sports bring to rural communities. There is evidence that sustainable control of predators on shooting estates can play a role in the recovery of rare or declining species; in particular ground-nesting birds. A 2010 study by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust showed that predator control resulted in significant increases in the breeding success of ground-nesting birds such as curlew, golden plover and lapwing.
    The Government’s approach is that individuals should be free to manage wildlife within the law, and the Government should intervene only when there is good reason to do so. Mountain hares, foxes, stoats and weasels are not protected for conservation purposes in England and therefore landowners are free to manage these species providing they do so in compliance with legislation to protect animal welfare.
    Better management of our peatlands can produce a range of benefits, including biodiversity, carbon storage and flood protection. We have always been clear of the need to phase out rotational burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats. There is an established scientific consensus that burning of vegetation on such sites is damaging and that is why we are taking action to prevent further damage by bringing forward legislation that will limit burning of vegetation. The Heather and Grass etc. Burning (England) Regulations 2021 was laid before Parliament on 16 February and can be found at: We are currently drafting guidance that will describe the process and requirements for seeking a licence to burn on protected sites and will set out the very limited circumstances where burning will be seen as a permissible activity conducted in the right place for the right reasons. We will be engaging with stakeholders to ensure that the guidance that is developed supports and encourages sustainable land management practices that reflect our ambitions to restore and protect our peatlands.
    As mentioned, the Government recognises the conservation and economic benefits that shooting sports bring to rural communities. This was also recognised by the Werritty Report, submitted to the Scottish Government from the independent Grouse Moor Management Group. The report examined the environmental impact of grouse moor management practices and advises on the option of licensing grouse shooting businesses. It can be found here: We will carefully consider the Scottish Government’s Ministerial Statement in response to the Werrity Report and whilst the Government has no current plans to carry out a review of the management of grouse moors, we do not rule out the possibility of a review in the future.

  2. Lead free is a positive if very late step. The tosh from useless Eustace is the standard tory party line on the subject I had similar in 2017 when I still lived in North Yorkshire from my local MP. Obfuscating do nowt tosh to put it simply.

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