§ Sir Frederick Burden
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has studied the report into lead poisoning in swans published today by the Nature Conservancy Council; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Macfarlane
I am grateful to the Nature Conservancy Council's working group for its report on lead poisoning in swans, which concludes unequivocally that mute swans are dying as a result of lead poisoning due to ingestion of fishing weights, especially split lead shot. The report makes a number of recommendations for action, most significantly that efforts should be directed to the phasing out of the use of split lead shot by anglers within five years and that maximum publicity should be given to an excellent code of practice prepared by the national Anglers Council.
I hope that all bodies who have a concern in these matters will use their best endeavours to implement the report's recommendations and combine to alleviate the suffering of our swan population and to eradicate its causes.