U.K. Plans to Make It More Difficult to Remove Public Statues

The U.K. government plans to make it harder for public statues to be removed, after protests last year prompted calls for toppling monuments linked to slavery and the country’s colonial past.

Councils will have to consult with local communities and planning approval will be required before any statue can be removed, Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick wrote in the Sunday Telegraph. Further details of the plan will be announced on Monday.

The move comes after the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis led to protests across the U.K. The statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol was pulled down in June, while an Oxford University college recommended the removal of a statue of colonialist Cecil Rhodes after years of criticism. Monuments to historic figures including Winston Churchill had to be boarded up to protect against vandalism.

“Local people should have the chance to be consulted whether a monument should stand or not,” Jenrick wrote. “What has stood for generations should be considered thoughtfully, not removed on a whim or at the behest of a baying mob.”

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