Newcastle upon Tyne is a vibrant city that continues to host events from music concerts through to small community festivals. The City Council is extremely proud that it has delivered on large international events such as the football matches during the Olympic Games in 2012, the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and looks forward to once again hosting rugby league matches during the Dacia Magic Weekend on the 20 and 21 May 2017. Newcastle/Gateshead is also extremely proud to be chosen to host the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018

The City Council continues to take the view that for an event to be a successful one it must first and foremost be safe both for those attending and those hosting. It is essential that event organisers with their proposal notify the council at least 3 months in advance of the event taking place.

The following list gives an idea of the types of event to which the advice on these pages may apply:

  • Fun runs;
  • Charity walks;
  • Festivals, music or otherwise;
  • Concerts;
  • Shows and fetes;
  • Motor sports;
  • Zip Wire from the Tyne Bridge;
  • Firework displays.
  • Street parties - please see the street parties webpage for separate guidance.

Please contact the Events Officer at events@newcastle.gov.uk for advice or information on the application process. Phone: 0191 2777130

Further details about running safe events can also be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Safer Events Policy

To see a copy of the Safer Events Policy as developed on behalf of the Northumbria Local Resilience Forum go to Policy (pdf 127 kb) 

The City Council as the landowner has determined that the following activities will not be permitted on Council land:

  • The retail sale of tobacco products,
  • The use of consumer products known as sky lanterns.

Policing and Crime Act 2017

On the 3 April 2017, it became an offence under Section 134 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 (pdf 173 kb) for a person other than an organiser or with their consent; to be in possession of a pyrotechnic article at a place where a qualifying musical event (pdf 31 kb) is being held.   

The following is a step-by-step guide to organising an event:

Step 1. Assign an event organiser

The event organiser shall:

  • Submit an event application form.
  • Prepare an event manual in consultation with the key agencies;
  • Attend an initial Safety Advisory Group Meeting, and additional Safety Advisory Group Meetings if necessary;
  • Keep written records of issues  discussed at these meetings for future reference;
  • Comply with the safety requirements of the Safety Advisory Group and submit all risk assessments for the event;
  • Appoint an Event Safety Officer who can provide a CV and relevant references, and can demonstrate competency throughout the planning and the actual event;
  • Provide site plans indicating all relevant details;
  • Provide all other relevant information as deemed necessary.
  • Seek Disclosure and Barring Service checks on any staff working directly with children.

Step 2. Get permission to use the land where the event is to take place

Always check who owns the land where your event is to be held and obtain permission to use it. Agreement (in principle) must be obtained from the relevant Land Manager before proceeding with the rest of the process.

  • For land owned by Newcastle City Council (excluding parks) you must contact Property Services for advice by phoning 0191 2115512.
  • If you are intending to hold your event in a Newcastle City Council park, then please contact Leisure Services for advice by phoning 0191 2617231.
  • If you are intending to hold your event on a public road please contact the Senior Engineer by phoning 0191 2778960.

The Land Licence requires the event organiser to return the land to the council after the event in the same condition they acquired it.

Step 3. Submit an event application form

All event organisers are required to submit an event application to obtain permission for the use of council land. Application form (pdf, 155 kb). The Event Application Form must be submitted at least 3 months prior to the event taking place.

Step 4. Does your event come under the Licensing Act 2003?

It is important that you check with the City Council as the Licensing Authority whether your event requires a permit by emailing events@newcastle.gov.uk as soon as you have submitted the event application form. Under The Licensing Act 2003 the following activities require a permit from the Newcastle City Council Licensing Office. Any activity involving:

  • The supply of alcohol;
  • The provision of late night refreshment; or
  • The provision of regulated entertainment (plays, films, indoor sporting events, boxing or wrestling, playing of recorded music, live music or performances of dance).

Newcastle City Council currently holds some 26 Premises Licences which have already been granted under the Licensing Act 2003, for the use of bodies and organisations which may require the use of these Premises Licences for licensable activities. These licensable activities range from the sale of alcohol through to the performance of live music and the performance of plays.

In terms of the legal process the City Council therefore has very much made it easier under our control, for events in the City needing permission under the Licensing Act 2003 to take place. Premises Licences are in place in parks such as Leazes Park and Exhibition Park in the city centre and also parks in our neighbourhoods such as Blakelaw Park and Walker Park. To see a full list of these licensed areas go to List (pdf 268 kb).

If the event does require a permit covering any of the above activities in one of our parks or areas of land, you will need to apply for consent from the City Council. Complete the Application for Consent to Perform Licensable Activities on Council Land (pdf, 265 kb). If your application is successful, you will receive a permit to hold your event's activities on the Council land from the Events Officer.

Step 5. Produce an event plan

The event plan will outline all the elements of the event. View more information about the event plan.

Step 6. Attend a Safety Advisory Group meeting

Following the acceptance of an event application form, it is the responsibility of the event organiser to arrange a number of planning meetings with the relevant agencies and the council. View more information about the Safety Advisory Group meeting.

Step 7. Undertake a risk assessment

In a risk assessment, risk should reflect both the likelihood that harm will occur and also its severity. View more information about risk assessments.

Step 8. Event stewarding

It is the responsibility of the event organiser to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of stewards at the event. View more information about event stewarding

Step 9. Insurance cover

It is a legal requirement that appropriate insurance cover is provided for the event by the event organiser in respect of public and employer liability. It is the responsibility of the event organiser to approach companies which can offer suitable insurance cover. Newcastle City Council cannot recommend a specific insurance company as this would be seen as giving preferential advice and would be unfair to the other companies available in the market.

Events held on Newcastle City Council land require a minimum of £5 million public liability cover. In order to ensure your event has the correct cover please contact the Insurance Officer by phoning 0191 2787878. Copies of the certificates and proof of their validity must be seen and approved on request by the Insurance Officer prior to the event.

Step 10. Make sure your event is accessible to all

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 gives disabled people equal rights to attend, participate in and enjoy organised events.  Event organisers could face legal challenges from disabled people unable to access an organised event. 

Step 11. Food safety

Whether the event is a small fete or a large scale catering event, it is the responsibility of the event organiser to ensure that the food (and drink) produced and sold or given away is safe.
The requirements that need to be in place at an event will be dependent upon the nature of the event and the types of food business in attendance. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has produced National Guidance for Outdoor and Mobile Catering. Event organisers should ensure that all traders comply with this guidance.

It is strongly recommended that event organisers only allow businesses with a Food Hygiene Rating of 4 or 5 to trade. This rating should be clearly displayed for the public to see. A rating of 4 or 5 ensures that the business is registered with their local Environmental Health Department and is operating to a high standard. You can check the Food Hygiene Rating of a business at www.food.gov.uk Further advice on this matter may be obtained by contacting the Food Safety Team on (0191) 2116102 or email psr@newcastle.gov.uk

Step 12. Consider the noise levels at your event

If your event is likely to have a noise effect on the local community, it is the responsibility of the event organiser to follow the noise guidelines (pdf, 34kb) provided by Newcastle City Council. For advice please contact the Noise Team on 0191 2116102 or email psr@newcastle.gov.uk.

Step 13. Comply with smoke free legislation

If you manage or are in charge of any premises or vehicles that the smoke free law applies to, you have a legal responsibility to ensure they are smoke free. View more information about smoke free law.  

Step 14. Do you need a Performing Rights Society licence?

A Performing Rights Society (PRS) licence is required whenever there is a public performance of PRS-controlled copyright music. This includes both live performances (e.g. concerts, recitals, marching bands etc.) and recorded music (e.g. discos, background music, TV screens etc). The majority of copyright music from the UK, and around the world, is controlled by the PRS in the UK. This includes everything from advertising jingles to entire symphonies. Examples of events licenced by the PRS include carnivals, firework displays, parades, festivals and exhibitions. If an appropriate annual PRS licence is not in place for the land or premises where the event is to be held, the event organiser needs to obtain a licence. For more information visit the Performing Rights Society website.

Step 15. After the event

A debrief meeting involving all contributors will be required if necessary as soon as possible following the event. The event organiser must provide a written debrief report. The report must be circulated to the Land Manager, the Event Advisor and the Licensing Officer (when applicable). The purpose of the debrief is to examine and address any problems encountered. It is fundamental that any experiences, either good or bad, are shared between all involved so that future events of a similar nature can benefit from the experience.

Local Government (Review of Decisions) Act 2015

The Local Government (Review of Decisions Act 2015 came into force on the 26 May 2015. The Act makes provision about the procedure for conducting investigations under Part 3 of the Local Government Act 1974; and makes provision for cases where the City Council, as a local authority, makes a decision that affects the holding of an event for a reason relating to health and safety.  

The information on this webpage provides advice to those wishing to organise an event on Newcastle City Council Land. However, the information contained on this website can also be used for all events whether they take place on Newcastle City Council Land or on private land. Our advice is intended as a simple step by step guide to running an event but it is not a definitive guide to event safety or management. It is offered without regard to the specific circumstances of individual events and/or the knowledge or experience of the individuals running those events. Event organisers should always seek advice from experienced health and safety and event management professions before proceeding.

Please note: This information has no legal force and is not an authoritative interpretation of the law, which is a matter for the Courts. It is intended to help businesses to understand in general terms, the main features of the legislation. The information is not a substitute for the legislation and you should refer to the text of the legislation for a full statement of legal requirements and obligations. Where appropriate, you should seek your own independent legal advice.

You may also need a specific licence for your event. For more information on the licences that may be applicable, visit licences and permits.

For further information, please contact Events Licensing, Public Safety and Regulation, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. 
Phone: 0191 2777130
Email: events@newcastle.gov.uk

Page last updated: 
2 May 2017
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