Have your say on busking: Westminster’s ‘Busking & Street Entertainment Consultation’

Every day the streets across Westminster are brought to life with performances from musicians, magicians, comedians, artists and dancers, who come from all over the world to perform here. 

At the same time, Westminster receives around 1,800 complaints each year about excessive noise or overcrowding caused by busking. Westminster City Council is proposing a new policy that they hope will allow street entertainment to thrive whilst protecting residents and businesses. This will include a licensing scheme in busking hotspots where they receive the most complaints

To read more about the new busking and street entertainment policy, please head to Westminster’s page dedicated new the draft policy here.

Westminster City Council Street Entertainment update December 2020

WCC Policy: This draft policy is based upon the careful consideration of evidence and engagement with buskers and street entertainers, businesses and residents, however we will also monitor the policy throughout its first year of implementation and conduct a full review after 12 months so that it can be adapted based on results and feedback if required.

  • Street Entertainment has an additional chance for feedback by 31st January ahead of coming into effect in Spring 2020
  • A new pitch at Northumberland Ave near Embankment Place has been included
  • Villiers Street has been removed from the consultation.

Find full Draft Policy/Busking Appendix here

To view stakeholder email from Westmisnter City Council click here

We all share responsibility to tackle air pollution #AirWeShare

Statement from Ruth Duston, OBE, OC

Chief Executive of Northbank BID

I am looking forward to visiting an imaginative and thought provoking installation in Covent Garden this month. The Air We Share Pavilion creatively uses balloons to visualise the amounts of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the air. 

The activity aims to raise awareness of air quality issues and build public engagement. 

The BID strongly welcomes this campaign, led by Capco in partnership with Hubbub and King’s College London. We work closely with colleagues at Capco and share the aspiration to take positive action to tackle air pollution. The Air We Share campaign is a great way to start the new year and a good forerunner to our own air quality campaign, due to launch in April. 

We know that air pollution ranks as one of the most important issues to our businesses, local residents and the thousands of people who visit Northbank every day. At the BID it is a priority and we are determined to tackle it. In the Spring we will be launching a year long campaign to raise awareness of the role we all have to play in improving the quality of air in the capital and making healthier lifestyle choices 

The area around the Strand and Aldwych, which sits within the Northbank’s footprint, is one of the most polluted hotspots in London and in fact last year it was the first area in London to exceed the legal limit for NO2 for the year.

We are working with public and private sector partners to improve air quality across the area. Since the BID was established we have developed a number of programmes to both lower air pollution and encourage behaviour change so that people can make healthier choices. 

Together with Westminster City Council and local businesses, our recent Business Low Emission Neighbourhood Street interventions provided greener zones and cleaner, more inviting walking and cycling routes for the 30m people who visit the area annually. But our work must continue if we are to help the country reach the stretch target for zero net emissions by 2050.

We work closely with public sector partners to take the worst polluting vehicles off the roads. The ULEZ introduced last year is undoubtedly making a big positive difference, not least in relation to the introduction of low emission buses. 

But we all have a role to play in addressing air pollution – small changes in behaviour can make a big difference. One of our recent studies done in collaboration with King’s College London showed that by taking a quieter, greener route on their commute Londoners can reduce exposure to pollution by 47%. Also, opting for Click&Collect rather than having parcels delivered at work could reduce central London traffic – and resulting air pollution – by at least 10%.

Air pollution is a thorny challenge for London but is one we are facing head on. It is not something that can be solved by quick fixes or just by Government intervention. If we are to meet the target set a new collaborative approach is required. 

That’s why we support activities like the one running in Covent Garden until the end of January and we are excited to launch our campaign in April. Through our work we are demonstrating that everyone can make a difference and that the key to solving London’s air pollution challenge is partnership. 

Hidden Network

A hand up, rather than a hand out, to help end rough sleeping in Westminster

Rough sleeping is undoubtedly one of the worst scourges of our modern society. How can we, as one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, still have people living on the streets? How can we deliver true ‘good growth’ if we cannot support the most vulnerable in society and ensure that vibrancy and prosperity works for all?

Of course, rough sleeping is a deeply complicated and challenging issue, but the answer is not to see it as someone else’s problem. There is no silver bullet and the long term solution will require multiple parties working together to tackle the problem on several fronts. 

The Hidden Network is a new campaign, pioneered by Westminster Council and supported by the six key homeless charities, and now local businesses too. This week the South Westminster Business Improvement Districts (Northbank, Victoria and Victoria Westminster) proudly hosted an event informing businesses about how they can get behind the campaign. At its heart the Hidden Network offers a safer and more positive way for people to donate money to support homeless services.

Instead of giving money to rough sleepers on the streets, people are being encouraged to donate via contactless machines located in offices, theatres, hotels, railway stations and retailers across Westminster. Often giving money directly to people sleeping rough, while well intended, only serves to entrench vulnerable people in the difficult circumstances they find themselves in. The evidence on this is stark.

The Hidden Network campaign clearly demonstrates the role we all have to play in helping to solve this thorny challenge for London. 

Ruth Duston, OBE, OC

Chief Executive

South Westminster Business Improvement Districts