Enforcement of the Ivory Act 2018

Closed 19 Sep 2021

Opened 23 Aug 2021


In 2018 the Government introduced legislation that would ban commercial dealing in elephant ivory in the UK. The resulting Ivory Act 2018 (hereafter “the Act”) received Royal Assent on 20 December 2018. It supports the Government’s objective of protecting elephants for future generations by banning sales of ivory that could contribute either directly or indirectly to poaching. Establishing one of the toughest ivory bans in the world will send a clear message globally that UK does not consider commercial trade in elephant ivory to be acceptable.

When commenced, the Act will ban dealing of items made of or containing elephant ivory, regardless of their age. Dealing means sale, purchase or hire (including keeping an item for any of these purposes), and offering to sell, purchase or hire. The ban will apply to dealings taking place within the UK and to exports from and imports into the UK for commercial purposes. It will sit alongside the existing regulatory regime for the trade in endangered species (CITES), which covers elephant ivory.

Before the Act can be commenced it is necessary to establish the detailed legislative provisions for the operation of the civil sanctions regime (by means of secondary legislation), and to publish statutory guidance on enforcement and the use of civil sanctions.


  • Environmental campaigners
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  • Conservation
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  • Wildlife crime
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  • Protecting wildlife