[A ‘BANG!’ don’t come for free. Footage: BBC]
Boris Johnson put the ‘ire’ in ‘fireworks’ today, revealing that the viewing area for this year’s New Year’s Eve display will require a ten quid ticket. Organisers are hoping to cut the number of attendees from 500,000 last year to a mere 100,000 this year, due to safety concerns. In a statement he said:
‘I want as many of you as possible to have the chance to witness this awe-inspiring sight, but I also want everyone who watches it in person to be safe. Back in 2004, when we launched London’s NYE Fireworks, around 100,000 people turned up to watch. By last year that figure had swelled to over half a million. That’s a ridiculous number of people to be squashed into a small space at once. Moreover, it’s a serious risk to crowd safety, and the emergency services and the transport agencies agree.’
The opposition are somewhat obviously against the plan – because who would possibly be against free fireworks? – with Labour’s Len Duvall describing the tickets as ‘prohibitively expensive for average Londoners’ and Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon (no relation to Brian) insisting that ‘the event must be accessible to everyone and that must mean it remains free.’
The paid-entry area will be split into two zones, explains a new section of the Greater London Authority’s website:
‘The ticketed viewing areas broadly stretch from Westminster to Waterloo Bridge with viewing areas on both sides of the river. The ticketed area will have two sections – North and South. People will purchase either a North ticket or a South ticket and they will only have access to the corresponding areas for their tickets.
‘The North ticket allows access to viewing areas between Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Bridge which are accessed from the North side of London (the side opposite the London Eye) and the South Ticket allows access to viewing areas to the rear of the London Eye and on Westminster Bridge, which can only be accessed from the South side of London.’
Most importantly, tickets go on sale online, on a first-come, first-served basis, on Friday September 26: presumably from here. So if you want to go, be ready.
Otherwise, there are of course plenty of other places in London where you enjoy the display from a distance, for free, and far from the crazy crowds. And between now and then there’ll be a whole host of Bonfire Night displays, plus the Lord Mayor’s Show fireworks over the Thames on Nov 8. Boom!