Climate Action

World-leading ivory ban becomes law in the UK

The UK has just passed a world-leading ivory ban.

  • 20 December 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

The UK has just passed a world-leading ivory ban.

The ban, expected to come into force in 2019, has rapidly cleared parliamentary process, with support from across the House.

The number of elephants has declined by almost a third in the last decade and around 20,000 are still being slaughtered due to the global demand for ivory.

The act will introduce a total ban on dealing in items containing elephant ivory, regardless of their age, within the UK, including export from or import to the UK.

It will also establish a new compliance system to allow owners to continue to trade in exempt items and introduce tough new penalties for those found guilty of breaching the ban, including fines and possible imprisonment.

Michael Gove, Environment Secretary, said: “It is an extraordinary achievement to have passed this Act of Parliament. The Ivory Act is a landmark in our fight to protect wildlife and the environment. The speed of its passage through Parliament shows the strength of feeling on all sides of the House on this critical issue. The UK has shown global leadership and delivered on a key commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan. We are determined to end this insidious trade and make sure ivory is never seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol.”

To encourage more countries to introduce a ban on ivory, Michael Gove has introduced an Ivory Alliance 2024, aimed at defeating the illegal trade in Ivory.

This alliance aims to reduce the killing of African elephants by at least one third by the end of 2020 and two-thirds by 2024. It was introduced at the Illegal Wildlife Trade conference in London which saw supporters from Prince William to singer and environmental activist Ellie Goulding.