THE toppling of Edward Colston's statue at the weekend has prompted councils across England to launch reviews into whether monuments in their area could be deemed offensive.

Earlier this week, the Local Government Association's Labour group asked its Labour council leaders to review "the appropriateness" of monuments and statues in their towns and cities.

Since the weekend, campaigners have deemed a number of statues across England to have links to 'celebrating racism and slavery,' with 'Topple the Racists' divising their own hit list.

But in the North-East, a number of councils have said they will review statues and monuments with some confirming they will open consultations with residents in their area.

The Northern Echo asked councils across the region how they were responding to the growing concerns and asked for their response.

Durham County Council

Durham County Council told us it was currently conducting an audit of all its statues and monuments under its care.

A spokesperson said: “We stand together with people and organisations across the world in rejecting racism, discrimination and prejudice in any form.

"We believe in equality and work closely with our partners and communities to maintain our county as a welcoming, inclusive and safe place for all.

“We are currently conducting an audit of all statues and monuments under our care to establish if any of these structures conflict with these principles.”  

Darlington Borough Council

The council said, while it did not believe it had any statues in Darlington which were inappropriate, it would be keeping this 'under review' in light of any information brought to its attention.

Newcastle City Council

The council said it was reviewing all of its statues in response to anti-racism protests but said compared to other cities, it had 'very few historic statues' which were controversial.

A spokesperson said: “Statues are a very emotive issue which divide public opinion. In years gone by many public figures became wealthy in ways we would find wholly unacceptable today and it's important that we learn from that in the progress of social justice – but as a listening council we welcome any representations for and against the suitability of statues today.

“While we defend people’s right to protest, the removal of statues by force is a criminal offence, and police will take action if this happens in our city. We will only remove a statue after careful consultation with the public."

Sunderland City Council

Councillor John Kelly, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture at Sunderland City Council said: "As a listening council, we take on board the views of the public and should we be requested to look again at our monuments, statues and public commemorations, we will do that and consult further.

"Subject to consultation with the public of Sunderland, we would then look to reach a consensus.

"We do not support illegal action and criminal damage to any monument or statue, whoever it might be."

  • The Northern Echo did contact North Yorkshire County Council but has not recieved a response at time of publication