London New Year's Eve fireworks go ahead - but people told they can only watch at home

31 December 2021, 13:52 | Updated: 1 January 2022, 01:11

London's iconic firework display will go ahead - but with a difference
London's iconic firework display will go ahead - but with a difference. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

London's New Year's Eve firework display has gone ahead after previously being cancelled because of Covid-19.

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However people were told to watch from home and not to try to travel into central London as there will be no view of the display from the ground, or from key locations around the capital.

Instead spectators are being told to watch the iconic firework display on TV.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan cancelled the firework display in October, citing uncertainty over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

"This year, as always, London will be welcoming the new year in a spectacular way," said a spokesperson for the Mayor's office at the time.

"Due to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, our world-famous New Year’s Eve display will not be held on the banks of the Thames this year."

The decision to cancel - which was taken before the emergence of the super-transmissible Omicron variant - sparked outcry, with Conservative London assembly member Tony Devenish branding Mr Khan a "grinch".

"Christmas is a great time to celebrate; we all need to get footfall up in central London, business has obviously really suffered and lots and lots of people work in central London, particularly in the west end businesses," he told LBC.

"This is a great time to get out and enjoy our city over Christmas and the mayor has been a real misery guts here."

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Watch: 'Why the hell are we calling off the fireworks? Why is the Mayor such a killjoy?'

Health Secretary Sajid Javid also said he couldn't "understand" the Mayor's decision.

"I think there's a perfectly safe way that can take place so I really don't understand that decision," he said in October.

"But as I say, that's not a decision for the Government, it's the mayor's firework display so I hope he can reconsider it."

England has resisted tightening Covid restrictions for New Year's celebrations, whilst Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all imposed curbs to limit the spread of Omicron.

The rule of six is in place in Wales and Northern Ireland, and Scotland is only offering table service at hospitality venues.

Nightclubs are also closed in all three of the devolved nations, sparking concerns people could try to travel to England in order to have a New Year night out.

Read more: PM says 'be sensible' for NYE, as people 'plan to travel to England to escape Covid rules'

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Boris Johnson has said people should "enjoy New Year but in a cautious and sensible way", saying that the impact of boosters and the apparent reduced severity of Omicron meant restrictions were not currently needed.

He urged people to take a lateral flow test before attending New Year celebrations, and ensure spaces are well-ventilated.