London's New Year's Eve celebrations to be ticketed for the first time
London's hugely popular and internationally acclaimed New Year's Eve fireworks celebrations are to be ticketed for the first time, Mayor Boris Johnson announced today.
With plans well advanced for 2014, the Mayor wants to ensure London's celebrations, which are watched by millions of people in the UK and across the world, will offer revellers the safest and most enjoyable event imaginable in the longer term.
This year, 100,000 tickets will be available to the public, which will guarantee good views of the celebrations and a better visitor experience.
People will be able to book up to four tickets from Friday 26 September at 12 noon (UK time), by going to the New Year's Eve web pages.
Since it was first staged at the London Eye on the South Bank in 2003, the numbers of people heading to see the acclaimed pyrotechnic and lighting display have mushroomed from an estimated 100,000 people in its first year to more than 400,000 in 2012.
Last year around half a million people are estimated to have headed to see the display, putting enormous strain on transport and safety infrastructure.
Following consultation with the Metropolitan Police Service, the British Transport Police, the London Ambulance Service, the London Fire Brigade, Transport for London, local authorities and other key partners, the Mayor decided the situation had become untenable.
A detailed scoping exercise was carried out to assess a range of options to help manage and ultimately reduce numbers, and it was decided ticketing was the best option available to organisers going forward.
The increasing popularity of the event has resulted in people turning up earlier each year, with capacity often being reached by early evening, leaving hundreds of thousands unable to get a good view or even see the display at all. Those who did arrive early enough faced hours waiting in often cold and cramped conditions.
Crowd numbers also meant longer delays afterwards, as revellers struggled to make their way to Tube, rail and other public transport services.
Ticketing is not for profit - every penny of the £10 administration fee will be used to pay for the ticketing itself, and the extra infrastructure the decision to ticket will bring.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'London's New Year's Eve fireworks are phenomenally popular, not just in the capital, but across the world and we want to ensure it continues to be a safe, enjoyable and sustainable event for the long-term. After consulting with our partners, we are introducing ticketing to help manage crowd numbers and create a better experience on the night. For anyone without a ticket the fireworks are again being shown live and in full on television, meaning you can watch it in glorious HD colour without missing a single second. And don't forget, there are hundreds of other New Year's Eve celebrations to enjoy in bars, restaurants and clubs across the capital.'
The Mayor's decision has the full support of the emergency services, the relevant local authorities and other key stakeholders.
Commander Simon Bray, Metropolitan Police Service, said: 'The Met's role is to ensure that the event is safe and as crime free as possible and to work with the other agencies to ensure that people attending the area are kept safe and able to enjoy themselves. We will continue our full involvement in the detailed planning for the central London celebrations, working closely with the organisers and other emergency services. We are confident that 2014's New Year's celebrations in central London will, as ever, be a great occasion.'
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: 'New Year's Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year, particularly in central London, which attracts large crowds. Wherever you bring in the New Year in the capital, public transport will be the best way for people to get around and I encourage everyone to plan their journeys in advance by visiting our website.'
Londoners and visitors to the capital are being reminded that even away from the fireworks the capital is one of the most exciting cities on earth to bring in the New Year. There are hundreds of celebratory events and activities taking place across London, in bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs.
Julie Chappell, Director of VisitLondon.com, said: 'London is the best city in the world to see in the New Year because it offers something for everyone. The city's night-life is so vibrant and diverse that there are thousands of other events and attractions leaving visitors spoilt for choice. Our advice is to plan ahead to come and enjoy the best pubs, clubs, comedy, fine dining and theatre that can be found anywhere.'
For more information about the other celebrations taking place in London on New Year's Eve go to the Visit London website.
The public will be able to book up to four tickets for London New Year's Eve fireworks display from Friday 26 September at 12pm (UK time).
The £10 administration fee for each ticket is to cover the costs to run the ticketing system.
To sign up for information and updates, people should go to www.london.gov.uk/nye.
Notes to editors
Major New Year's Eve celebrations in other cities Edinburgh: Ticketing the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations has led to a steady reduction in crowd numbers to more manageable levels. There is a £20 administration charge. Sydney: Ticketing is in place for the prime viewing areas, including Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanic Garden & Domain Trust, Taronga Zoo and National Parks & Wildlife Services, however the wide and harbour location event footprint makes the Sydney celebrations a different operation to London, which is much more compact.