If you are a crew of five or less people, including participants and actors, you count as a small crew and the procedure for filming in London is quite straightforward.
Once you have identified the areas you wish to film at, you need to contact the relevant Borough Film Officer to advise them of your filming.
If you are using a handheld camera and your filming will not cause an obstruction then there is no restriction to filming on London’s public highway. In some boroughs this also extends to small crews with a tripod. No licence or any form of official permission is required.
Common law rights allow users of public highways to “pass and re-pass ... and to make reasonable use of it”. Section 137 of the Highways Act 1980 restricts these rights where the use of the highway causes an “obstruction” to other users rights of free passage. If you are considered to be causing an obstruction then there is a risk that you will be stopped from filming.
If you think you are likely to cause an obstruction then you need to apply to film via the appropriate Local Authority, however we strongly recommend that you always inform the relevant Borough Film Service if you are filming on their streets. If the local authority is not aware that you will be filming in the area then you can be asked to stop.
If a member of the public complains and you don't have permission to film, then you may be asked to move on by police. Some Local Authorities provide Notices of No Objection for small crew filming.
Notices of No Objection
Some Authorities offer the option to obtain a Notice of No Objection — essentially an informal letter confirming that, based on the information you've provided, the Local Authority has no objection to the filming going ahead.
Not all boroughs offer these Notices; with those that do, some provide them free of charge and others charge between £25-£100. In addition to providing you with the document some Local Authority Film Officer will check for any works in the area that might affect your shoot, and will notify the local police for you, if necessary.
Be aware that this notice does not provide a carte blanche. If your filming creates an unforeseen obstruction you can still be forced by the police to move on.
All crews using a tripod to film in the boroughs of Westminster and City of London must obtain a Notice of No Objection. Applications for small crews need to be made with a minimum of three days notice. Productions using handheld equipment do not need to obtain a Notice.
If the road you would like to film on has a double or single red line then it is not managed by a borough and you need to approach Transport for London Streets Traffic Control Centre for either a notice of no objection or a permit ahead of filming.
Small crews of five or less using a handheld camera need to apply a minimum of three days before filming is due to start. You are unlikely to be charged a fee.
Please contact email@example.com or 020 3054 3039 for further information
Visit the TFL website for a list of the roads they cover.