UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — The United Kingdom plans to introduce a sweeping and unforgiving new ban on ivory sales.

The U.K.’s Environment Secretary announced the ban April 3 in response to a public consultation which found most people are in favor of tightening rules on the ivory trade.

The new legislation will cover ivory items of all ages with a few limited exceptions, such as antiques made before 1947 that are less than 10 percent ivory.

Officials said rare items at least a century old will be examined before permits will be issued.

Violators will face up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the ban will be one of the toughest in the world in order to protect elephants.

Gove added the measures will “reaffirm the U.K.’s global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past.”