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Westminster Blog: Good news for environment and environmentalists

Newbury MP Richard Benyon on the Ivory Bill and Clean Air Strategy

Andy Murrill

Richard Benyon


01635 886625

Westminster Blog: Good news for environment and environmentalists

Two good news stories for the environment and environmentalists have emerged.

One was the introduction of the Ivory Bill in Parliament on May 23 which will ban all commercial dealing in ivory in the UK that ‘could directly or indirectly fuel the poaching of elephants’.

It will also cover the import and re-export of ivory for commercial use. This ban will be amongst the toughest in the world and will cover ivory items of all ages, not just those produced after a certain date.

Since 2006, the number of elephants in Africa has decreased by approximately 20 per cent, mainly due to poaching which, in turn, is mainly driven by consumer demand for (and speculative acquisition of) ivory.

By closing down legal ivory markets, this Bill will help to reduce the price of ivory and thus the incentive to poach.

Obviously the ban will not affect the right to own, gift, inherit or bequeath ivory but it is an important step in the worldwide effort to save these iconic animals.

The other encouraging news was the publication of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy.

Air pollution is now recognised as a major public health risk ranking alongside cancer, obesity and heart disease, and this strategy is the latest stage in the Government’s efforts to reduce and reverse its effects on our health and our natural environment.

One particular source of pollution which has seen an increase in recent years is domestic burning of wood and coal.

This will not mean you cannot continue to light a fire at home but small steps like encouraging the industry to improve the design of stoves and ensuring that only cleaner fuels can be sold – for example, only properly seasoned wood and low-smoke alternatives to traditional coal – can make a significant difference.

Less smoke, less pollution, more heat. A lesson for us all.

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Article comments

  • NWNThatcham

    07/06/2018 - 08:08

    This is pathetic. The government has a "strategy" !! Why does the government not focus on meeting its European Legal Obligations, as air pollution already exceeds legal limits in many areas. Just incredible that our MP can trumpet this whilst it is encouraging airvrravel through airport expansion and failing to penalise car manufacturers who have flouted the law on diesel emissions. Its nothing to do with wood stoves .... just another example of distraction from the big issues that the government's failing to tackle.


  • Ihavenonickname

    05/06/2018 - 19:07

    So a third runway at Heathrow is good environmental news Richard? What are you doing to bring on-street charging points for ev's across West Berkshire?


  • EugeneStryker

    05/06/2018 - 14:02

    Just for a bit of balance: The Tories decided to drop the ban on the ivory trade from their 2017 manifesto, probably due to heavy lobbying from their antique dealer pals like Lady Borwick. It was only after heavy pressure from pretty much anyone who doesn't like the idea of killing elephants that the Tories decided to do something about the ivory trade - nevermind, back to killing badgers, foxes and native birds. Focusing on stoves is another diversionary Tory tactic that helps them ignore tackling the problems with real solutions that might upset their party donors and lobbyists. The Cycling/walking investment for 5 years is £300m, about 1/2 what it cost to refurbish 1 London tube station. Research suggests that on average cycling and walking schemes have a stunning cost to benefit ratio of around 13:1 once you consider health savings, pollution reduction and much more, but instead we'll spend £15bn on motorways and trunk roads by 2020.