Terms of reference (2010-2016)


The purpose of the Lead Ammunition Group (the Group) is to bring together relevant stakeholders and experts to advise Defra and the FSA on: (a) the key risks to wildlife from lead ammunition, the respective levels of those risks and to explore possible solutions to any significant risks; (b) possible options for managing the risk to human health from the increased exposure to lead as a result of using lead ammunition. The scope will be limited to England* (though relevant research and evidence may be drawn from anywhere) and focused on safety aspects for human food, impacts on wildlife and issues surrounding possible alternatives to lead. The Group will be established for an initial 12-month period, after which progress will be reviewed by Defra & FSA.


  • To advise Defra/FSA on what the significant risks to wildlife from the use of lead ammunition are and what levels of risk these pose in the short, medium and long term. Also any perceived risks which the evidence indicates are not significant.
  • To advise Defra/FSA on possible options for managing the risk to human health from increased exposure to lead resulting from the use of lead ammunition notably in terms of food safety (including game shot with lead ammunition and spent lead shot deposited on agricultural land).
  • To advise Defra/FSA of any significant knowledge gaps that may hinder the identification or assessment of risks, the development of technical solutions or the development of government policy.
  • To advise Defra/FSA on any communication issues, and possible solutions, concerning the relaying of balanced information on issues surrounding the use of lead ammunition to the media, general public and stakeholders.
  • To advise DEFRA/FSA of any significant impacts of possible advice or solutions on shooting activity and associated recreational, wildlife management, economic and employment impacts.


The Group may convene various sub-groups as necessary. The Group must be balanced and fair in their investigations and findings, making reasonable efforts to take account of all available information and views.

A high level group consisting of a person (or persons) from each of the following key sectors will, within the remit set out by Defra & the FSA, take strategic decisions for, and give direction to, the whole group (including sub-groups). Group members will represent the spectrum of views from their sector, not their organisation. The key sectors are: conservation, animal welfare, environment, human food safety, gun & ammunition makers/traders, and shooting and deer management interests. The Group will be overseen by a chairperson appointed by Defra and FSA.

Defra, FSA and the Chair will agree who will sit on the Group. The Group may consult experts as necessary. The Group may convene sub-groups to look in more detail at relevant issues. Sub-groups should be as inclusive as possible and must be balanced and fair in their investigations and findings. Sub-groups must be given clear aims and deadlines by the Group and report their findings exclusively to the Group.
Secretariat Support.

Defra will provide the secretariat support to the Group (but not sub-groups) in the form of minute taking and arranging meetings/rooms. Defra/FSA will provide rooms for meetings for the Group. Whilst the need for face to face meetings is recognised, the use of ‘green alternatives’ such as e-mail, tele/video conferencing are to be encouraged. The Group will define its own operating principles within these terms of reference.

Financial Support

No financial support is being offered, either to organisations or individuals.


  • At the end of the first year the Group must produce a written report on progress for Defra/FSA.
  • During the year, the Group must inform Defra/FSA of any key findings as they become apparent.
  • Any scientific data or research used to underpin the written report must be of a quality that would withstand peer review.
  • The Chair will provide a single point of contact for the formal disclosure of advice from the Group to Defra/FSA. Individual group members must not disclose advice outside the Group.

Status of Advice

Advice should not be limited to actions for government and should cover advice to non-government organisations. However, any conclusions or recommendations of the Group will be taken into consideration by Defra/FSA when developing policies, but neither Defra nor FSA will be bound by any advice.


The key purpose of the Group is to inform government policy development. Advice from the Group will become publicly available, but Defra/FSA are likely to need time to consider and discuss the advice prior to wider dissemination. Defra /FSA will therefore decide on the timing of publication of any advice and prior to that all group members must respect confidentiality.

*Note: Defra has policy responsibility for this issue in England only, but the Devolved Administrations will be kept informed. The FSA has a UK wide remit.

Amendments to terms of reference (2016-present)

  • Act as a clearing house for evidence pertaining to the use of lead and non-lead ammunition, effects on wildlife, health and environment and the effectiveness and practicality of methods for reducing the exposure of wildlife and humans to ammunition-derived lead;
  • Provide a forum for communications on such evidence, its quality and utility;
  • Post references to the sources of such evidence on the website to raise awareness of it;
  • Monitor both international and UK processes that call on such evidence, and facilitate access to this for interested parties;
  • Support expert contributions to such processes to help ensure that the evidence is properly taken into account and applied for the good of wildlife, health and the environment;
  • Provide relevant information to, and seek opinions from, interested experts with relevant backgrounds where appropriate;
  • Continue to keep Defra and FSA appraised of developments in this area, including by production of periodic updates as appropriate; and
  • Meet from time to time as agreed and convenient.