Mayor of London Boris Johnson has confirmed plans for a Night Time Commission to investigate what should be done to protect the UK’s night time economy.
According to the authorities, the economy is worth £66bn a year to the UK and employs 1.3 million people.
The night time economy is a key part of the capital’s cultural offer, helping attract the millions of visitors that have helped the capital break records as the world’s most visited destination, with four out of five saying culture is a key reason for coming here.
Although plans for the night tube are expected to increase London’s status as a 24 hour city, the mayor wants also to ensure this is balanced with other needs of people living, working and doing business here, such as the impact on local residents, keeping people safe, street cleaning and other concerns.
Commenting, Boris Johnson said: ‘There is no doubt that the night time economy is hugely important to our prosperity and the life of our city, but there is insufficient oversight for the way it is managed and problems are mitigated.
‘It is brilliantly successful, but night time activities can be seen as causes of noise and nuisance, whilst businesses complain that rising property values, the need for housing, licensing requirements and other red tape are damaging their operations, even leading to closures. If we are to compete against other world cities is vital that we develop policies to reconcile the competing needs and concerns.’
The investigation will run for six months and make recommendations about measures to support the night time economy, including the precise role and responsibilities of a night time champion. A report from the commission is expected to be published in the autumn.
Earlier in the week, the British government announced the introduction of new legislation giving local authorities the powers to better protect live music venues against redevelopment pressures.
The new regulations come into effect on 6 April 2016 and mean developers are now required to seek prior approval on noise impacts before changing the use of a site from offices to residential dwellings.