Public events safety advice

All large public events in the New Forest, including those in aid of charity, must comply with recognised safety standards.

If you are planning to organise a public event, review our event organiser checklist to make sure you are prepared.

The Safety Advisory Group (SAG), which includes the council, can help event organisers to ensure that public safety is paramount.

On this page:

Event types

The SAG will help with all public events, including:

  • fetes and fairs
  • open air concerts and music festivals
  • trade shows
  • horse shows, agricultural shows, dog shows, car or caravan shows
  • open air entertainment including theatre, opera and historic reenactments
  • sporting events
  • cycling events
  • processions, marches, parades and carnivals
  • bonfire and firework displays
  • street parties.

Events during COVID-19

The government's COVID-19 response plan outlined a 4 step roadmap for easing restrictions.

We reached step 4 of the roadmap on 19 July 2021. This step removes the majority of restrictions imposed on businesses and the public as well as how we protect ourselves during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Please refer to GOV.UK for the latest information.

Notify the SAG of an event

You should notify the SAG at the earliest opportunity, ideally giving them at least 3 months notice of your event.

When planning an event involving more than 10,000 people, a minimum of 5 months notice should be given.

You should include all documents associated with your event when submitting your SAG notification.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • your COVID-19 risk assessment
  • a site-specific event risk assessment
  • fire risk assessment
  • emergency plan
  • site or route plans.

GOV.UK have produced COVID-19 guidance for people who work at events and visitor attractions.

For further guidance, download the Event Notification Procedures document below.

Icon for pdf Event Notification Procedures and the Safety Advisory Group [1.25MB]

You may notify the SAG about your upcoming event using the online form below.

Please do not submit a SAG notification until the documents related to your event are ready and available. 

Assessment of your event

The SAG members will be distributed your event details and supporting documents.  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your event details will also be distributed to the Public Health Team for Hampshire. They will review applications and supporting documents with regard to preventing the spread of infection, taking into account all current national and local guidance.

Each event will be considered on a case by case basis.

Any necessary advice and guidance will usually be given on a one-to-one basis from a SAG member to the organiser.

Some smaller events that do not pose any specific risks will not require the SAG members to meet. In more complex cases, or where considered appropriate, the SAG members can meet as a group or sub-group to discuss a case.

If an event is identified as likely to compromise public safety, the appropriate SAG agency may need to consider action to prevent the event from taking place unless safety improvements are made. In this case, organisers will be contacted directly by the agency.

Additional consideration will also be taken on how the event is likely to affect the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Any gathering can be a source for cross infection, which could lead to a spike in cases in a particular area.

Approved plans and assessments will need to be amended to comply with any later changes in government guidelines and local restrictions in place at the time of your event.

After your event

The SAG welcomes post-event feedback in relation to notified events. This can be provided up to 28 days after an event has been held.

A feedback box is provided on the public events register. This is for general comments and experiences only, and will help with improving the safety of events in the future.

If you have a complaint that you would like followed up, contact the relevant council department as necessary. If your complaint relates to crime and disorder offences, contact Hampshire Police.

Event safety information

Visit the Health and Safety Executive website for guidance on running events safely.

Visit the GOV.UK website for information on organising a street party.

You can download several documents related to safety at events below. These should not be a substitute for existing technical guidance or documents otherwise available.

Icon for pdf The Use of Stewards and Marshals [114.99KB]

Icon for pdf Fire Safety at Public Events [15.57KB]

Icon for pdf Event Safety Guide [1.25MB]

Icon for pdf Organising Bonfire and Firework Displays [955.45KB]

Icon for pdf Celebrating with Bonfires and Fireworks - A Community Guide [324.93KB]

Public register of events

We maintain public registers of events in New Forest.

View a register of public events listed by the SAG using the link below.

About the SAG

Public events can enhance community life but have the potential to risk public safety and cause environmental damage if they are poorly planned. Proper planning and management by the event organiser is essential to reduce those risks.

The SAG co-ordinates the efforts of relevant agencies to provide advice to anyone who wishes to organise an event within the New Forest area.

The aims and objectives of the SAG are to:

  • encourage high levels of safety and welfare at events by giving advice and guidance to event organisers
  • foster good working relationships with event organisers
  • share and promote best practice
  • encourage co-operation between its members to ensure that public safety is a top priority for event organisers.

The SAG is made up of core members and invited representatives from other agencies when needed. The core members are officers from:

  • New Forest District Council (Environmental Health, Licensing and Development Control)
  • Hampshire County Council (Highways, Emergency Planning and Public Health)
  • Hampshire Constabulary
  • Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services
  • South Central Ambulance Service.

The Chair of the SAG may invite additional people, for example:

  • Forestry Commission
  • the New Forest National Park
  • the event organiser
  • the licence holder 
  • public transport providers
  • town centre managers
  • Primary Care Trust.

Contact details

For further information or queries about events or the SAG, contact us using the details below.


Christa Ferguson
Chair of Safety Advisory Group
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
SO43 7PA

Check dates, permissions and licences when organising a public event.

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