Borough Film Services
It is important that wherever you plan to film you get permission or notify the appropriate authority.
London is divided into 33 separate boroughs and each has its own Borough Film Service (BFS) that deals with filming requests for all Local Authority managed locations (e.g. streets, estates, commons, town halls, some schools, shopping and leisure centres etc.)
These council representatives are not only the first point of call for request to film, but they also liaise on your behalf with other council departments, including parking and refuse collection. The BFS is normally also able to suggest good places for parking, especially unit bases, so it is worthwhile calling them for general information.
Charges, restrictions and parking arrangements vary between the 33 London boroughs, so please use the Borough Film Service (BFS) lists on the Borough Charges page for further details. On this page you can access detailed of the fees you can expect to be charged by the Borough Film Services. The four spreadsheets cover everything from Admin fees (including late fees and cancellation charges), Highway charges (such as licence charges for materials on the highway and road closure charges), Location fees (for filming or unit bases at local authority owned locations) and Parking charges (including costs of suspending bays). Alternatively, you can call the relevant officer directly for a breakdown of their charges. Borough boundaries are shown in many A-Z maps.
The amount of notice that you need to give in regards to filming can vary based on the size of your crew, so this is also worth bearing in mind - as a rough guide, allow 3-10 working days to process the relevant paperwork. Find out if you qualify as a small or large crew.
It is good practice to inform local police for all exterior location filming, and it may be a legal requirement to do so. Other aspects of your script or shoot may also mean you need to get in touch with the police (please find a list with contacts below). Some Borough Film Services will inform the local police for you - so always check with the BFS whether you should let the local police know about your shoot.
The impact of failing to inform relevant authorities could result in unnecessary police resources being deployed and disruption to the community and to your filming. This is particularly important when you are filming in a location that may have iconic, religious or government buildings.
Film London recommends that any productions planning to film on the street contact the relevant Borough Film Service (BFS).
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