This guidance document aims to help you as organisers of
Sound Systems at Notting Hill Carnival to apply for
the correct permissions and licenses for the 2018 event.


Notting Hill Carnival Ltd
020 7221 9700

Executive Director
Matthew Phillip

Tara Hobson


Safety Consulting
Chris Varney
Gallow Glass Health & Safety


Carnival Team - Events and Street Trading
020 7341 5119
020 7341 5762
020 7341 5147

Greg Colley
Helen Scally

Licensing Team
– TEN / Premises Licences
020 7341 5152

Keith Mehaffy

Noise Team
020 7361 3002 

Environmental Health – Health and Safety
020 7361 3002 



Carnival Team - Events
020 7641 2390

Katherine Eaton
Salil Patel
Josie Pether

Licensing & Street Trading Team
020 7641 6500
David Sycamore


Noise & Environmental Health Team
020 7641 2390
Dave Nevitt

Requirements for all activities at Notting Hill Carnival:

Highways Consent

This is permission from the relevant local borough for use of the public highway for each specific location ie each sound system which could include where your crowd is located and your infrastructure.

Relevant Licence

In addition to Highways Consent you will require a Premises Licence or Temporary Event Notice for your sound system.

Please Note – both elements are required by each sound system.

In order to gain Highways Consent you will need to:

Be listed within the overall Event Management Plan being prepared by Notting Hill Carnival Ltd

Provide copies of all of the following, having been signed off by Notting Hill Carnival Ltd for consideration by the local authorities and MPS where relevant:

Detailed site plan

Detailed Event Management Plan including stewarding arrangements

Detailed Risk Assessment

A copy of your Public Liability Insurance


These will be reviewed to ensure sufficient safety information is provided.

Once you have gained Highways Consent you will be able to apply for Vehicle Access Passes.

Your Sound Board (which is the permit you will be issued to give you consent for the activities laid out in your plans) will be issued once all of the above (Highways Consent, relevant Licence and VAP’s) are in place.


We are here to support and guide you through this process, so if you have any questions please do get in contact.

We can be emailed on
call us on 020 7221 9700
visit us in person at The Tabernacle, 35 Powis Square, W11 2AY.


Document Submission Deadlines

Event Management Plan

Submit Documents to:
Notting Hill Carnival Ltd    
Deadline: Friday 8 June

Vehicle Access Pass

Submit Documents to:
Notting Hill Carnival Ltd   
Deadline: Monday 16 July

Risk Assessment Guidance

Submit Documents to:
Notting Hill Carnival Ltd    
Deadline: Friday 8 June

Public Liability Insurance

Submit Documents to:
Notting Hill Carnival Ltd   
Deadline: Friday 13 July


Licensing Application Deadlines

Premises License

Submit Documents to:
Submit Documents A.S.A.P. – As soon as possible

For anybody proposing to submit a premises license application, we recommend that these are submitted immediately to allow a reasonable chance of the application being dealt with in time for Carnival.

T.E.N. – Temporary Event Notice

Submit Documents to:
Deadline: Friday 13th June

We recommend that Licensing Applications are filed A.S.A.P.  
If a Counter Notice is served, then there may not be sufficient time to lodge an appeal and have the appeal case heard. If an objection notice is received to a late T.E.N., the Licensing Authority will issue a Counter Notice and the event will not be authorised.

Street Trading     

Submit Documents to:
Friday 13 July

Advertising & Public Communications Plan

Submit Documents to:
Notting Hill Carnival Ltd
Friday 13th July

Temporary Structures

Submit Documents to:
Notting Hill Carnival Ltd
Friday 8 June


Your Responsibilities as a
Sound System Organiser

As a Sound System organiser, you have a number of responsibilities to the public who return year on year to enjoy your music at Notting Hill Carnival. 

The law requires organisers to provide a reasonable standard of duty of care to event attendees and members of the public. Safety must therefore be a consideration before, during and after the event. 

The implications of not considering your duty of care can be very serious, from major fines to imprisonment.


How to Run a Safe Event

Choose who will be charge of your Sound System safety

This person will be responsible for the safety of your Sound System who can outline processes for managing health and safety on the day, but also for the install and de-rig of the sound system. This person is likely to be the Sound System Manager and will be responsible for the overall running of the system as well as crowd safety and management. 

Provide documents to both Notting Hill Carnival Ltd AND RBKC/WCC

You should provide the following prior to applying for a licence:

Site Plan (to scale and accurately labelled)

Event Management Plan 

Risk Assessment 

Public Liability Insurance policy with a minimum coverage of £5 million.

Please ensure you consider both the event timings and the install and de-rig times when confirming your policy

Temporary Structures Licence (if applicable)

Contact details of those on-site managing the Sound System site

You will need to ensure you have the specified documentation available for Notting Hill Carnival Ltd to review in the case of an incident to prove you did everything you could to provide a reasonable standard of duty of care. 

You can email your documentation to

You can also post the documents by recorded delivery
or hand deliver them to:

Notting Hill Carnival Ltd
The Tabernacle,
34-35 Powis Square,
London W11 2AY


Site Plan Guidance

When designing your site plan for your Sound System you should consider the following aspects: 

Location of any staging/temporary structures

Location of speakers and which direction they are facing in

Barrier and general infrastructure locations including generators (all generators should be barriered off to the public)

Street trading locations / bar sites nearby which may impact crowd flow around your site

Emergency access – is there a clear route out in case of an incident? 

Access routes to facilitate residents to get in and out of their properties or from one side of the Sound System to the other. Think about including a sterile barrier between the Sound System and the crowd to create an access route channel. 

Are there any specific pinch points that cause crowding issues that could be reduced by moving elements of the site plan around?

Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, Metropolitan Police Service and the Local Authorities are happy to work with you to help design an appropriate site plan for your Sound System. 

Please send or upload a to-scale and accurately labelled copy of your site plan to Notting Hill Carnival Ltd for review and inclusion into the Event-Wide 2018 Event Management Plan.




Event Management Plan

It is good practice for event organisers to produce an Event Management Plan for events big or small. This helps the organisers, local authority, stakeholders and other agencies to better understand your event planning. 

It is a requirement for all Sound Systems to provide Notting Hill Carnival Ltd with an Event Management Plan for each location.

To help with this process, we have produced some guidance on what should be included in your plan. 

As an organiser you should also consider documenting your Emergency Procedures in case of an incident. 

Contact details of Management and Crew

Please supply on-the-day contact mobile telephone numbers for your Sound System Manager & key members of staff.

We require these so that you can be sent SMS text updates over the weekend with any key updates or urgent information.

The contact information may be used by the local authorities, Metropolitan Police Service or Notting Hill Carnival Ltd.

See Appendix A – Event Management Plan Guidance. 

See Appendix B – Emergency Procedures and Contingency Planning 


Risk Assessment Guidance

Events can have many associated risks.  These can arise from an unusual site, large numbers of people, the moving of equipment, as well as weather conditions and even the mood of the audience.

All of the above, and many others, can create a variety of potential hazards.  All events organisers have a responsibility to thoroughly assess risks to help reduce or remove potential dangers to staff and attendees and the general public.

Notting Hill Carnival Ltd have contracted health and safety specialists Gallowglass to work across the event and they will be able to provide additional guidance and support. 

See Appendix C – Risk Assessment Guidance and Template 


Vehicle Access Pass

All vehicles that need to enter the event footprint at any point will require a Vehicle Access Pass (VAP). 
The following information is required for a VAP: 

Sound System Name

Driver’s name

Driver’s address

Driver’s date of birth

Driver’s driving licence number
A photocopy or scan of the driver’s licence

Vehicle registration

Vehicle make

Vehicle model

Vehicle colour

Is the vehicle hired? 

  • if yes, please provide a copy of the hire agreement

  • if no, please provide a copy of insurance certificate

Please email this information to

You can also post by registered delivery or hand-deliver documents to: 

Notting Hill Carnival Ltd
The Tabernacle
34 – 35 Powis Square
London W11 2AY


Premises Licensing 

Premises Licences are required for events where licensable activities are provided (e.g. playing of amplified music or sale of alcohol) with either a capacity or attendance of more than 499 people at any one time and/or run for a period of over 168 hours. 

If you already have a Premises Licence, the annual fee is due on the anniversary of it being granted.  Please ensure the correct fee is paid on time. 

You should check your licence to ensure it has the appropriate location that you intend to use and that you are capable of complying with all the conditions attached to the premises licence.  If you have any questions about this, please contact the Licensing Team of the relevant borough. 

New Premises Licences Applications

Officers recommend that new applications should be submitted to Licensing before 15 May. This should be accompanied by a Site Plan and Risk Assessment. You must comply with the statutory application process.

Applications can be made online

If you submit your application online, the application will be served on all the responsible authorities automatically. Licensing applications can also be made via post. 

Any application for a new premises licence will have to be advertised. The statutory advertising requirements require the applicant to place a notice in a local newspaper within 10 working days of making the application and place a notice (blue paper of at least A4 size) advertising the application on or at the premises for a period of 28 consecutive days, starting on the day after the application was made, outlining the details of the application.

The Licensing Teams will be able to advise you if you are unsure, alternatively you could instruct an agent or solicitor. 

A new premises licence application costs £100.

For anybody proposing to submit a premises license application, we recommend that these are submitted immediately to allow a reasonable chance of the application being dealt with in time for Carnival.


Temporary Event Notice (T.E.N.)

TENs are required for events with licensable activities (e.g. amplified music or sale of alcohol) with either a capacity or an attendance less than 499 people at any one time, or that will run for no longer than 168 hours. 

Your TEN should be submitted once you have approval from the relevant Borough Events Team that you have a suitable Event Management Plan, Site Map and Risk Assessment.

A T.E.N. allows the temporary sale of alcohol and/or regulated entertainment. 

As a guide, to ensure support and relevant guidance (allowing time for any changes, appeals etc.) we recommend that T.E.N.s are submitted at least 6 weeks prior to the event - Friday 13 July. 

A T.E.N. costs £21 

For the Westminster City Council, please fill out the T.E.N. application digitally to minimise impact of time delay and documentation getting lost. You will be able to upload supporting documents, such as event management plans.

There is a section on the form where you will need to explain how you will manage a maximum capacity of 499 people in the location you propose to use the T.E.N.

TEN Objections

TENs are assessed by the Police and Environmental Health responsible authorities and only they may object to a T.E.N. . 

If they believe that any of the licensing objectives will be undermined by the event, they will issue an ‘Objection Notice’ to all relevant parties. The Objection Notice will outline the reasons why the TEN is being objected to and will be issued within 3 working days of the T.E.N. being formally served.  If objections are received, it is referred to the Licensing Sub-Committee to be determined.  

The more information you can provide within your Site Plan, Event Management Plan and Risk Assessment, the more you will help support this process. 

Where an objection notice is received from either the Police and/or Environmental Health to a ‘Late T.E.N.’, i.e. between 9 and 5 days before the event, the licensing authority will issue a counter notice without the need for a hearing by the Licensing Committee, which means that the event is NOT authorised.

Appeal Process

Every decision of the Licensing Sub-Committee can be challenged by way of an appeal to the Magistrates’ Court. Not only does an applicant for a licence or review of a licence have a right to appeal against a decision of the Sub-Committee, but so does any other person, the police and the other responsible authorities, who originally submitted representations. An appeal can be lodged if the Sub-Committee grants an application, refuses an application, partially refuses an application, revokes or suspends a licence, or attaches, or fails to attach, conditions to a licence, or issues a counter notice in respect of a TEN. 

If any party to such an application wishes to appeal against the decision they must lodge their appeal with the court (which in this area would be Westminster Magistrates Court, 181 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5BR) within 21 days of the notice of the sub-committee’s decision being received.


Temporary Structures Licence

If you are planning to have a temporary structure as part of your sound system you may be required to have a Section 30 Temporary Structures Licence. 

This application will be sent to the Council’s District Surveyor to ensure your structure is safe to operate in a public space. 

Please be aware any structures you are planning as part of your Sound System should be declared in advance for review by Gallowglass and (if relevant) licenced through the relevant borough. If there were to be an incident such as a stage collapse or a roof / stage cover blew off and fell into a crowd, your insurance may become invalid and you may be held liable.

You will need a temporary structures licence if your structure is:

A platform or stage with a covered roof or sides regardless of height

A platform or stage off the ground by 1 metre or above

Any truss structures

Marquee or gazebo with a span of 6 metres or over

Speaker or lighting towers

If you are planning to have any structures that match the above description, please send a photo marked with dimensions to Notting Hill Carnival Ltd & the relevant borough Carnival Team who will advise whether S30 licences will be necessary, and if necessary send you the application form


Advertising and Public Communications

In order to ensure the safety of public areas and manage crowd movement properly, we require each contributing sound system to submit a plan of their planned advertising before and during the period of the Notting Hill Carnival event as part of their Event Management Plan. 

A known hazard to public safety to consider is the mis-use of real-time social media promotions during the event resulting in sections of crowds chasing from one area to another. 

Each Sound System’s event plans should ensure to state their use of advertising and promotions, ensuring that advertising and promotions occur long before the event rather than during it – particularly if employing social media tools such as facebook or twitter. 

We advise that Sound Systems can advertise they are at Notting Hill Carnival, but not to emphasise the specific timings of acts or performances. 

The supplied event plan should include a full description of the proposed use of signage, advertising and social media to help plan the necessary safety measures. 


Street Trading Licences

If you are intending to sell merchandise, food or alcohol / a bar site you will require a street trading licence. Pitches are available in both boroughs and have different processes.

If you are planning to trade at your Sound System pitch, you will need to propose to the relevant borough including any new / changes to existing sites.

Once approved, a licence will be required and details should then be contained within in your Event Management Plan.

Trading in Kensington & Chelsea

If you are trading within the Kensington and Chelsea footprint:

Contact the RBKC carnival office to express interest or renew your interest in a site:

020 7341 5119
020 7341 5762
020 7341 5147

All street trading sites should be included in your site map. A meeting may be required with RBKC and organisers to understand what you propose if it is a new site. Once approved a licence will be required, and details should then be contained within your Event Management Plan.

Please complete your application via the online application system. Details of how to do this will be provided once your interest in a site is approved. For the purpose of guidance on fees, the 2017 fee was £57.50pm² but the schedule of rates has not been confirmed for 2018.

You are unable to Cook/re-heat food on a site that is smaller than 12m².

Once your application is completed and paid, you will then be issued with a licence and/or permissions upon attending a mandatory carnival street trader training session (training dates provided upon application completion).

Trading in Westminster

If you are trading within the Westminster footprint, we will require the same information we ask from our casual traders.

The application form must be completed in full and clearly show where you wish to trade, and what you wish to trade in e.g. hot food or other goods.

The form to print, complete and supply via post will be available to download from

In the meantime, existing traders should register interest for a pitch with the Carnival Team at

The form must be completed in full and returned to Street Trading, Licensing Service, 22nd Floor, Portland House, Bressenden Place, Victoria, London, SW1R or via email

Each application must include:

2 photographs of the applicant and 2 photographs of all assistants (up to 6) must be included.

A photocopy of your Public Liability Insurance with a minimum cover of £5,000,000

A copy of the food safety certificate for all food selling stalls

Copies of photographic I.D for the applicant and ALL assistants. This must be either a valid passport or a valid driving licence.

Gas safety certificates.

All of the above items must be sent together and received by no later than Friday 13th July 2018.

You should ensure you allow sufficient time for mail to be delivered by the deadline.

The Council shall accept no liability for any applications ‘lost’ in the post.

Applications can only be received by post since we are asking for passport-style photos to be submitted.