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Henry Smith: Tackling the illegal wildlife trade

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On Tuesday (9 January) I’ll be questioning the Foreign Secretary in the House of Commons over the work of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to help tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

Ivory should never be seen as a status symbol or a commodity for financial gain, which is why I welcome plans from the Government to ban its sale.

The proposals will not only protect elephants but will also help combat poaching by removing opportunities for criminals to trade illegally-poached ivory.

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

UK-led action is necessary to stop the current rate of poaching. If this were to continue, elephants could become extinct within decades in some African countries.

This new ban will build on the UK’s work to tackle poaching and the illegal ivory trade. The British military already trains an elite force of anti-poachers in African countries, complimented by Border Force officers sharing their own expertise with international counterparts in identifying smuggled ivory to prevent wildlife trafficking.

In October, the UK will host a fourth international conference on the illegal wildlife trade, bringing global leaders to London to tackle the strategic challenges which are faced. This follows the ground-breaking London 2014 conference on the illegal wildlife trade, and subsequent conferences in Botswana and Vietnam.

While the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs takes a lead on this issue in the UK, a cross-governmental approach is needed to ensure results at home and abroad.

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

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Council have plans in place for ‘Beast from the East’

Salting operations are to continue throughout the period; snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.

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Yellow warnings for snow in Crawley have been issued by the Met Office until Wednesday. Photo: MetOffice

Snowfall will be effecting most of the country over the forthcoming week and the Met Office have issued yellow weather warnings for snow as well as amber warnings for some areas.

Following these warnings, West Sussex County Council have said they have plans in place to keep main roads open.

A West Sussex Highways spokesman said:

“Precautionary salting operations will continue throughout the period and snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.

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“We are therefore advising Town and Parish Councils to be prepared to enact their Winter Management Plans IF and when we issue an instruction to do so.”

A further update will be issued later today.

The County Council’s winter campaign website page has several sections giving advice on ‘staying warm’ please click here.

If you know or look after someone who may be susceptible to the effects of this cold weather period, please help ensure they stay warm and well and check in advance that they are prepared for this cold spell.

WSCC have offered some general advice including:

• Stay tuned in to weather forecasts.
• Check and maintain daytime room temperatures of 21°C.
• Check bedroom night-time temperatures and maintain it at 18°C or warmer.
• Keep warm and active and, if you have to go out, dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes.
• If you are concerned about your own health or welfare, or that of others, please alert the emergency services – details: emergency services.

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