Rachel Maclean, the MP for Redditch County, has sought assurances from the Environment Secretary that the UK’s ban on ivory sales will be law in time for the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference this Autumn.

The Bill, which was introduced to Parliament last month, takes the UK a step closer to implementing one of the toughest bans on ivory sales in the world in a bid to protect elephants for future generations.

Robust measures to crackdown on the illegal trade in ivory are included in the Bill. The ban will cover ivory items of all ages, not only those produced after a certain date, subject to some narrow, carefully-defined exemptions. The maximum penalty for breaching the ban will be an unlimited fine or up to five years in prison.

In developing the Ivory Bill, the Government worked with environmental groups, the antiques trade, the general public and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Endangered Species – which Rachel is Chair of. More than 70,000 people responded to the Government’s public consultation on an ivory ban, with more than 88 per cent of responses in favour of measures to ban ivory sales in the UK.

The Government is taking action against the ivory trade due to the fact that the number of elephants has declined by almost a third in the last decade. Around 20,000 elephants a year are still being slaughtered because of the global demand for ivory.

And as the UK continues to show global leadership in the crackdown on the ivory trade, London will play host to the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference this October.

This prompted Rachel in Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Questions earlier this month, to seek assurances from the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, that the UK’s tough ban on ivory sales would be in place in time for the conference.

In response to Rachel’s question, the Environment Secretary confirmed that he hoped the ban would be in place by this Autumn.

Rachel said: “The implementation of this tough ban on ivory sales will send a strong message to the rest of the world that the needless slaughtering of elephants must stop. There are no excuses for killing innocent elephants just to make money from the ivory. Countries around the world must join the UK in implementing similar bans so we can end the abhorrent ivory trade once and for all.

“I could not be more proud that our country is clearly a world leader in animal welfare and protection. The UK has stepped up the fight and the rest of the world must now join us.

“I’m also delighted the Environment Secretary was able to assure me that the UK’s tough ban on ivory sales will be in place in time for the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London this October. The UK will be able to lead  by example at the conference and encourage world leaders to join the fight against the ivory trade.”