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The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is consulting on the Ivory Act.

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The eight-week consultation seeks views on the registration and certification process and fees for the selling of such pieces.

Art and antiques trade associations plan to submit feedback to ensure The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) procedures “are workable and realistic”.

The Government is planning a database for items that are exempt under the act and will require registration (notably items comprised of less than 10% ivory by volume made prior to 1947, pre-1918 portrait miniatures and pre-1975 musical instruments comprised of less than 20% ivory). The fee will be £50 per item, per sale (£50 for a group of three or more items up to 20).

A system of applying for exemption certificates for items of outstanding artistic, cultural or historic significance will also be put in place. A fee of £250 per application will be applied here.

To submit feedback to the consultation, which closes on May 4, visit Defra’s website.

Defra website

Defra's Ivory Act consultation is open until May 4.

The Ivory Act 2018 exemptions to the ban in trading ivory are:

  • Items with only a small amount of ivory. Such items must comprise less than 10% ivory by volume and have been made prior to 1947.
  • Musical instruments. These must have an ivory content of less than 20% by volume and have been made prior to 1975.
  • Portrait miniatures. A specific exemption for portrait miniatures – which were often painted on thin slivers of ivory – made before 1918 and with a surface area of no more than 320cm2.
  • Sales to and hire agreements with qualifying museums.
  • The rarest and most important items of their type. These must be items of outstanding artistic, cultural or historic value, and made prior to 1918. Decisions on applications for such items will be based on expert advice from a selection of institutions deemed to have the necessary knowledge and expertise.

The Government is also planning to extend the act to cover other ivory-bearing species such as narwhals, killer whales and hippos. Defra is currently considering evidence submitted in response to a previous call for evidence and will be consulting on this later in the year.