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Public Events and the Safety Advisory Group (SAG)

COVID-19 Important information

In line with recent legislation, measures are in place to protect the public and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

Government instruction requires that we limit all but essential outings outside our households. This includes events (mass gatherings).

Therefore, events that were scheduled to take place during this period of restriction provides organisers with no choice but to cancel or postpone their event(s).

In light of the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak the accuracy of the Register of events cannot be guaranteed, as we have not been advised of all cancellations or rescheduled dates. If you have purchased advanced tickets or require any information about an event that had been planned prior to the outbreak, you are advised to check with the event organiser directly, or look on the specific event's web page (if available).


Event Notification form

SAG Event Notification Form

Register of SAG notified events

SAG Register of Notified Events


Pony Drift Dates

adobe icon Pony Drift Dates [300kb] are provided by the Verderers office. If your event falls on one of these dates, please contact their office on 023 8028 2052 to obtain location details. This is essential in avoiding public safety issues on the day of your event.



There are many types of public events that take place in the New Forest area every year. These public events can enhance community life in the New Forest area, but if poorly planned, the potential for risks to public safety and adverse environmental effects is increased. Proper planning and management by the event organiser is essential to reduce those risks.

When groups of people gather together, dangerous situations can occur and many different factors can influence crowd behaviour. The event organiser is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the people attending their event, as well as that of the employees, contractors and sub-contractors working there.

Some public events take place without the organiser contacting the local authority or emergency services - in such circumstances public safety can be compromised and the organiser could be vulnerable to legal action. To help organisers, a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) has been established to co-ordinate the efforts of relevant agencies to provide advice to anyone who wishes to organise an event within the New Forest area.

The SAG group encourages event organisers to take advantage of the safety advice available and to make sure that public safety at the event is always a major priority.

SAG Objectives

The aims and objectives of the SAG are to provide safety information and advice to event organisers and to foster good working relationships with them. The SAG will promote best practice and encourage co-operation between its members to ensure that public safety is always paramount in the minds of event organisers


The group will produce an annual list of known events taking place within the area which could be of interest to event organisers to check that their event will not conflict with events already taking place.

The SAG welcomes post event feedback in relation to registered events and this can be provided up to 28 days after an event has been held. A feedback box is provided for each event on the Event Register, which can be found at the top of this page. This is for general comments and experiences only and will assist with improving the safety of such events in the future. If you have a particular complaint that you would like followed up, please contact the relevant council department as necessary. If your complaint relates to crime and disorder offences, please contact Hampshire Police directly.

Case by Case

Each event is judged individually. Some events which are either small in size or do not pose any specific risks, will not go out to formal SAG consultation. The SAG group will be consulted electronically, with all event details and plans provided by organisers being sent out to each member via email.

Often the necessary advice and guidance will be given on a one to one basis from a SAG member to the organiser. In more complex cases or where considered appropriate, the SAG can meet as a group or sub-group to discuss those public events that are considered to have the potential to present a significant risk to public safety.

If the membership of the SAG identifies an event that is likely to compromise the safety of the people attending, the appropriate SAG organisation may need to consider action to prevent such events from taking place unless the necessary safety improvements are implemented. In which case organisers will be contacted directly by the agency/organisation.

Types of Events

The SAG will assist and guide organisers with all public events, typical examples including:

  • Fetes and fairs,

  • Open air concerts and music festivals,

  • Trade shows,

  • Horse shows, agricultural shows, dog shows, car/ caravan shows,

  • Open air entertainment including theatre, opera and historic re-enactments,

  • Sporting events,

  • Cycling events,

  • Processions, marches, parades and carnivals,

  • Bonfire and fireworks displays.

If your event requires a highway (road) to be closed to traffic for any length of time please click on the following link which will direct you to the NFDC road closure site: NFDC road closures

Additional information for cycling events

When planning and organising a cycling event, the number of riders involved, length of the event and geographic scale must all be taken into account to enable the event to be enjoyable whilst minimising disruption to residents. As cycle events can provide a number of challenges for agencies and members of the public in the Forest the New Forest National Park has produced the New Forest National Park cycling code which all organisers are expected to comply with.

In addition, all organisers of cycle events are required to follow the Cycle event organiser's charter which has been designed to limit the impact of the event on the natural area and its inhabitants, whilst providing a framework to support a successful event. The charter refers applicants to the adobe icon Location of Riding Schools in the New Forest [2Mb] and the arrangements that should be considered when organising cycle events.

Road Closures or Licensable Activities

If a road closure is required, you will need to apply to do so. Details on the process and the application form to be completed is available on the Road Closures for Special Events webpage.

For further information on any event which may impact on a highway please see the Hampshire County Council Events on the Highway traffic advice.

If licensable activities are planned for the event, in addition to a SAG notification, a licence or notice may be required under the Licensing Act 2003. Please view the Licensing and Regulation webpage or contact Licensing Services on 02380 28 5505.

Exhibiting Animals

If your event includes any activities which involve animals, the exhibitor may need a licence, and you should check that they have one before allowing them to attend. Examples of this include falconry displays, ferret racing, animal petting, horse and cart rides, and pony/donkey rides.

Other Events in the new Forest

The current list of events (Event Register) that the SAG group are aware of and the status of those events can be found at the top of this page. However other organisations produce calendars of events and organisers are advised to check these to prevent a clash of dates or to add contingency into event plans.

The list of events that the National Park Authority is aware of can be found here: National Park Authority - events

The official New Forest visitor website also produces an events calendar which can be found here: New Forest visitor website

SAG Membership

The SAG consists of a number of core members and invited representatives from other agencies when appropriate.

The core members will comprise officers from:-

  • New Forest District Council:- (Environmental Health, Licensing, Development Control, Transportation),

  • Hampshire County Council (Highways and emergency planning)

  • Hampshire Constabulary,

  • Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services,

  • South Central Ambulance Service,

  • Forestry Commission

  • The New Forest National Park.

The Chair of the SAG may also invite persons who can contribute to the discussion e.g. event organiser, licence holder, public transport providers, town centre managers, Primary Care Trust, etc

What does the event organiser need to do?

It will be important early on in the planning process to establish who owns the land where the event will be held, to seek their permission. You can establish ownership for registered pieces of land via the Land Registry website or by calling them on 0300 006 0411. New Forest District Council has a computerised system of large-scale ordnance survey maps showing the boundaries of all land owned by the District Council. Follow the New Forest Mapping link to ascertain if the land you are enquiring about is owned by this Council on the  and using 'What would you like to do?', choose Map Layers, 'tick' NFDC Land, search using the address.

To assess the risk presented by your event and thereby determine the level of assistance that can be offered, it is important that you provide certain details to the SAG:

Proposals for an event should be notified at the earliest opportunity. When planning a large event a minimum of 6 months' notice should be sought. All statutory timescales for the licensing of the sale of alcohol, regulated entertainment and late night refreshment must be met under separate requirements of the Licensing Act 2003 and a relevant application must be submitted to the licensing authority in addition to notifying the SAG.

To notify the SAG of event please complete the online form at the top of the page (Event Notification form)

Other useful documents

The advice given by the SAG is not a replacement for arrangements and documents which may exist to guide persons through the processes and procedures of organising events. It is the responsibility of the event organiser to understand, plan and organise a structure for safely managing the event. A number of documents have been produced and links are provided below, but they are not substitutes for existing technical guidance or documents otherwise available.

 Event Plan Guidance

          adobe icon The use of stewards and marshals [114kb]

          adobe icon Fire Safety at Public Events [15kb]

          adobe icon Event Safety Guide [1Mb]

          adobe icon Event Notification Procedures and the Safety Advisory Group [95kb]

          adobe icon Organising Bonfire & Fireworks Display [955kb]

          adobe icon Bonfires and fireworks - a Community Guide [324kb]


For further information or queries please contact us on

E mail:

New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
SO43 7PA

Please mark all correspondence for the attention of:

Christa Ferguson
Chair of Safety Advisory Group








Updated: 14 Apr 2020
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