London NYE Fireworks

MQT on 2014-12-17
Session date: 
December 17, 2014
Question By: 
Fiona Twycross
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


According to your estimate, half a million people attended last year's New Year's Eve celebrations. Given that there only 100,000 tickets for this year's event, how can you guarantee the safety of both those attending both with and without tickets?

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for London NYE Fireworks

Answer for London NYE Fireworks

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Fiona.  The safety of those at the New Year’s Eve fireworks is of course paramount for us.  That is why we have introduced ticketing.  It was on the representations of all the emergency services.  Police, ambulance and everybody were emphatic that we had to do something to take account of the huge number of people that were now attending the fireworks.  You will have seen the footage of people going over the bridges of the centre of town, the huge press of humanity and the risk that was evidently mounting that there would be a serious crush or whatever.  I could not take that risk.  Nobody in our position could take that risk.  That was the only reason we decided to go for a ticketed solution. 


All the tickets have now been sold, I am pleased to say.  That will cover the cost of managing the event.  I hope that people will enjoy it hugely, although I would advise everybody that the best way to see them, if you are not actually there in the crowd, is still going to be on the television, in the pub or wherever.  You are going to get a fantastic view there.  TfL will be running free travel between 11.45pm and 4.30am for all revellers. 


Fiona Twycross AM:  Thank you.  According to your estimates, half a million people attended last year’s New Year’s Eve celebration.  There are only 100,000 tickets for this year’s event.  I accept what you say about safety and the need to make sure we have public safety in London.  This is a major event for London.  With respect, just saying that people should watch it on the television really does not cut it.  The major ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Hang on, 100,000 people is quite a lot in the main viewing areas.


Fiona Twycross AM:  You are reducing it down from 500,000 people to 100,000.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, but lots of those people who came before were not able to watch it in prime locations.  They would have actually not had a great view.  Most of the people said ‑‑


Fiona Twycross AM:  Do you have estimates, then, for the number of people who will be able to watch it from not-prime locations?  How are you managing to make sure that people outside London - and actually within London itself - know that it is a ticketed event?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Fiona, we want to encourage people to enjoy themselves and to see the fireworks properly.  One hundred thousand is a lot of people.  It is more than you could fit into Wembley by some way.  It is a lot of ‑‑


Fiona Twycross AM:  It is a major risk to our reputation as a city if this goes wrong.  The signs in the Tube have very small print on the fact that it is ticketed.  The other thing I just want to raise about ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  There is a very wide understanding that it is ticketed.


Fiona Twycross AM:  Outside central London, there is very limited publicity about it being ticketed.  Unless we get the message out, there is a risk that people will turn up ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Let us hope that we can get the message across today, Fiona ‑‑


Fiona Twycross AM:  Absolutely.  The other thing I want to ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑because this is being broadcast to the entire planet.


Fiona Twycross AM:  That is very good to hear. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You are being watched now.


Fiona Twycross AM:  I somehow doubt that there is a huge ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You are.  You are live to the world. 


Fiona Twycross AM:  There is not a huge audience for this.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Tell the world that this is a ticketed event.