30 November 2000 | David Arminas
The Greater London Authority (GLA) is to rethink how it negotiates special events contracts after the cancellation of its New Year's Eve fireworks display.
"Lessons have been learnt from last year when the event focused on central London and brought fears about overcrowding on the streets," a GLA spokeswoman told SM.
Greater contact with the emergency services and public transport will be needed to ensure safety remains paramount, she said.
But the GLA appears to have moved the goalposts, claims one insider to contract negotiations.
Earlier this month, the authority cancelled this year's event after London Underground said it feared overcrowding and decided to close tube stations close to the River Thames where the fireworks display was to have taken place.
When the GLA came into being in July, it inherited the contract that was put in place in May, the spokeswoman said. The GLA decided to shift the main event from 7pm to 5pm and cancel the midnight display, as a result of fears over safety and cancellation of public transport.
According to the GLA, event organiser Ten Alps Consortium pulled out, complaining that, along with the closure of public transport, this would inhibit sponsorship sales.
"We will be going through an [internal GLA] auditing exercise to look at the responsibilities of the GLA and Ten Alps and see what risk assessments were originally in place," the spokeswoman added.
Ten Alps, which is owned by Live Aid organiser Bob Geldof, would not comment on the contract negotiations as the consortium is under a confidentiality agreement, said a company spokeswoman. Ten Alps put on the Millennium display last year that included the River of Fire fireworks on barges along the Thames.