London gears up for one of the busiest nights of the year
• Final preparations underway for New Year's Eve fireworks display • Non ticketholders advised to avoid the event area
• Hundreds of alternative celebrations across London – but plan ahead
With just two days until the start of 2015, Londoners and the capital's visitors are getting ready for one of the busiest nights of the year, which will see hundreds of celebrations taking place in restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs across the city.
A massive operation is now underway to complete preparations for the New Year's Eve fireworks display at the London Eye, with 100,000 revellers able to access prime ticketed viewing areas alongside the River Thames.
Months of planning goes into producing this highly successful, world class event, which was watched by almost 14 million people on television up and down the country last year and helps promote London across the globe.
The hugely popular New Year celebration is being ticketed for the first time following concerns about the numbers wanting to see the display – an estimated 500,000 attempted to see it last year, the majority of whom were disappointed and unable to get into the viewing areas.
Ever larger numbers each year have put enormous strain on transport, infrastructure and the ability of the emergency services to move around. In consultation with the Metropolitan Police, emergency and transport services, boroughs and other partners, ticketing has been introduced in a bid to manage crowd numbers and ensure the display's longer term sustainability as a safe and enjoyable event.
Organisers are advising people without tickets to avoid the Embankment and Southbank areas unless they have already booked their place at alternative celebrations in the vicinity.
Non-ticketholders can also watch the display live and uninterrupted on BBC One. As one of the biggest events in the capital's events calendar, the New Year's Eve fireworks display, which is organised by the Mayor of London and produced by Jack Morton Worldwide, is a major operation.
The display, which in previous years has been acclaimed around the world, includes 5,500 fireworks cues, 2,000 lighting cues, 12,000 fireworks producing 50,000 projectiles, and 30 tonnes of equipment on the three fireworks barges situated on the river in front of the London Eye.
Around 85 organisations are involved in planning the event, which began almost a year ago. A crew of over 300 will be working on the night to make the event a memorable reality, alongside almost 3,000 stewards, whose role is to assist members of the public both inside and outside the viewing areas.
In addition, 120 Team London Ambassadors are being deployed to assist the public in the afternoon and early evening. Road closures will begin as early as 2pm, with most closures in place from 8pm, stretching from Oxford Street in the north to Elephant and Castle in the south, and Vauxhall Bridge in the west to Southwark Bridge in the east.
There will also be some bridge closures. Some central London Tube stations will become exit only, be closed completely or for periods at a time for crowd management and safety purposes.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'The London New Year's Eve fireworks display is a major operation, which involves months of planning and the involvement of many partners, from the Met Police to TfL and emergency services to local authorities. It is a spectacular show enjoyed by people up and down the country and around the world and we have brought in ticketing to ensure crowd safety on the night and the event's future sustainability. For anyone without a ticket, there are plenty of other celebrations taking place across the city and we are urging them to avoid the area. And of course, you can still watch it live and in full on BBC One.'
If you haven't got a ticket for the fireworks there are many other fantastic events and experiences to enjoy, but revellers are reminded that New Year's Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year, particularly in central London.
Anyone going out on the night is advised to plan ahead to get the most out of the plethora of other celebratory activities taking place in bars, restaurants, pubs and clubs across the capital.
For updates about the London New Year's Eve Fireworks go to www.london.gov.uk/nye. For additional information, please contact the Greater London Authority: 020 7983 4100.
For live updates on the night follow #londonnye.
Notes to editors
1. Since first being 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 an estimated 500,000 last year (2013). Last year around half a million people are estimated to have headed to see the display, putting enormous strain on transport and ability of the emergency services to move around.
2. After extensive consultation with the Metropolitan Police, emergency services, Transport for London, local authorities and other key partners it was decided that ticketing the event was the best way to ensure the safety of those attending and to help secure the long term future of what has become an iconic London event
3. Each ticket carried a £10 administration fee, which covers the costs of running the ticketing scheme. No profit is being made and every penny of the fee is being used to cover the costs associated with the scheme, including printing, distribution, on the ground ticket checks and extra infrastructure including additional fencing, stewards and toilets.
4. The capital's amazing night life is world famous and there are a multitude of ways to celebrate as establishments all over the city will be pulling out all the stops to make New Year's Eve 2014 one of the most memorable ever. VisitLondon has compiled a list of the ten best dining experiences on the night, from medieval banquets to black-tie dinners at the Royal Opera House. Many London pubs and gastro pubs are staying open past midnight, or you could visit a comedy club, or catch a matinee performance at a West End theatre. The city is also one of the clubbing capitals of Europe and there are a host of specially organised club nights in unique locations around the city. To find out more about what is going on visit www.visitlondon.com/nye.
5. Public transport will be the best way to get about. TfL will provide free travel between 23:45 and 04:30 on the bus, Tube, tram, DLR and London Overground. Revellers are advised to plan their journeys and check www.tfl.gov.uk for travel information. 6. The London New Year's Eve fireworks display is being produced by London based Jack Morton Worldwide for the 11th consecutive year. Jack Morton is a global brand experience agency.
GENERAL PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100
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