Online longer version

The Authorisation of Trafalgar

THOSE carrying out news photography in Trafalgar Square can now download a Greater London Authority "authorisation notice" to wave at uniformed "Heritage Wardens" in their red-trimmed caps and red epaulettes who may try to give us a hard time while we are working in "their" square. New Greater London Authority byelaws appear to be in effect which seem to require expensive permits for "commercial photography" and filming (see Wardens have been enthusiastically trying to enforce this. Recently a warden scared away a group making an amateur video for a friend's birthday present.

The "Authorisation Notice" is addressed to "Dear UKPCA Press Card Holder," (the PCA is the Press Card Authority, that runs the scheme under which NUJ Press Cards are issued.) So in conjunction with an up-to-date press card, you should be able to use the authorisation notice to stop the wardens hassling you during your news photography shoot. It's online as a pdf at

7 April 2014

The GLA seems to have lost the above-mentioned authorisation letter in a website reorganisation. We're looking for it.

There may still be occasions on which photographers in the Square will need to stand their ground. The notice states that "this permission is limited to hand carried, self supported equipment" and expects photographers to comply with Wardens' "reasonable instructions" in relation to the health, safety and welfare of people in the Square." The key word is "reasonable" - and there's a number to contact if the instructions start to get unreasonable. Parliament Square Gardens - subject to the same byelaws - are also mentioned by name in the notice.

Meanwhile in Bristol, the Bristol Film Office, following a very positive meeting with NUJ Bristol Branch, have confirmed that "media press (news) film and photography crews are not required to apply for permission to film" on Council land and property. See

Last modified: 30 Mar 2012 - © 2012 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editor of the time
Send comments to the editor: