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Campaign Success on Scrapping Red Tape - Stopping Insurance is Next

07/02/2011 14:27:16

Government announcement opens whole country to be free to have street parties.

Streets Alive has campaigned for 3 years on this and recently joined with Sustrans, the Big Lunch, Living Streets and London Play to campaign to scrap red tape and charges for street parties.

In response on 7th Feb. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced "that he is cutting Whitehall red tape in order to make it easier to hold street parties.

The Government was concerned that DfT guidance ... was sometimes being misinterpreted by councils causing them to impose extra bureaucracy and costs on residents.

Philip Hammond has written to all local councils in England informing them that he is scrapping the guidance to avoid any confusion. The letter also reminds councils that providing information about closures need not mean unnecessary burdens on communities."

We are also quoted on the Dept. of Communities & LG website.

This is the formal DfT statement on the withdrawn RTR Act 1984 Sec 16A Advice note that has been causing the problem.

Chris Gittins, Director, Streets Alive said. 'The Government has done exactly what we asked. Our street party website is very busy as many residents have been held back from following the tradition of closing their road to hold street parties around the royal wedding this year, whether or not they are a royal fan.'

Many councils are now free to avoid any charges for street party road closures. These areas include much of London, such as Lambeth, Brent, Harrow and Barking & Dagenham, and also Bolton, Bucks, Kent, Liverpool, Norfolk and Surrey.

Streets Alive worked closely last August with Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government , when he wrote to all local authorities to reduce red tape for street parties. This Guidance has steadily been taken up by most councils and the situation across the country is much better than it was even a month ago.

OUR NEXT CAMPAIGN TARGET is to try to stop councils requiring, as opposed to recommending, public liability insurance for a road closure. At a cost of about £50 this can still be a show stopper by dampening the good will of residents to plan a street party, and Streets Alive questions whether this is needed or even the validity of the insurance schemes.

'Now it is down to the councils to decide whether or not they want street parties as a British tradition to held at all, for the royal wedding or at other times for the sake of building community spirit. If Bristol can do it with 150 held last year, the rest of the country can.' Chris Gittins said.

A private street party is very different to a large public event, and yet they are often treated the same. We are urgently appealing for councils to carefully think whether insurance is needed. Also whether any charge for council officer time on traffic orders would also put residents off.

Chris Gittins said "If councils charge no parties will be held and so there will be no revenue for them; if they do not charge there will be events."


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