Frequently Asked Questions
We’re here to help, below are a number of the questions we get asked regularly.
Residents & Businesses FAQs
I would like my house/property to be used for filming, what should I do?
Registering your property with The Film Office is a fantastic way of generating an income from accommodating filming at your property.
If you would like The Film Office to represent your property, please register your location via FilmHub registration form and we’ll be in touch.
My child has been approached to feature in a film / photography shoot. How do I protect their interests and make this legal?
Child Performers under school leaving age usually require a Child Performance Licence. The Production must apply for a Performance Licence for the child well in advance. 21 days is required to issue a licence. Child Performance Licences are issued by the Education Welfare Service for the Local Authority in which the child resides, unless the child is at Boarding School.
More information on child licensing is available from the NNCEE website: www.NNCEE.org.uk and a list of contact details for all London Child Employment Departments can be found on the Film London website www.filmlondon.org.uk/legal
There is filming taking place outside my property/ on the street but I have received no notification. Is this acceptable?
It is not illegal for a production to film on the public highway providing access is being maintained at all times. For filming on council land that is not public highway including; council buildings, parks, estates, markets and libraries – productions require to have a filming licence in place issued by Merton Film Office.
For any small scale/ low impact filming taking place we always ask productions to liaise directly with residents, businesses and members of public if/where necessary on the day. Consultation in the form of letter distribution and other means is not always necessary or appropriate.
For medium / large scale filming (high impact), a formal consultation will take place – communication plays a key aspect to ensure successful filming for all parties involved. Depending on the size & scale of the filming, the level of consultation will vary – methods include the distributions of filming notification letters (physical & electronic), face-to-face consultation & resident/business meetings for large impact filming in an area.
How can I check to see if a production has permission to film?
If filming is taking place and you have received no notification or simply want confirmation, please contact us immediately on 0207 247 1244 (24 hour) to see if this has been authorised.
You can also approach the production company and ask to speak to the Location Manager. They will be able to produce a filming Notice of No Objection or Filming Licence if they have been granted permission.
If guerrilla filming is taking place we will shut down filming and visit the location in person where necessary.
I have received a notification letter about filming in my neighbourhood, am I require to do anything about it?
No action is required – this is for information purposes. We are of the firm belief that successful filming relies upon effective communication to ensure that all parties are aware of proposed filming taking place in their neighbourhood.
We ensure that notification letters contain all relevant information about proposals along with contact details for the production and Merton Film Office. These are sent out in advance so that if residents & businesses have any concerns or queries these can be addressed prior and suitable measures put in place.
If you have any concerns or questions regarding filming then contact the production or Merton Film Office to talk through. These might relate to deliveries, building works, specific access requirements, or parking that you feel might be interrupted by filming taking place.
Communication enables practicable working solutions to be established in advance of filming taking place.
A production is filming in my neighborhood and I have concerns over the filming / I want to make a complaint?
We consider productions guests in areas where people live and work 365 days of the year and must act accordingly at all times.
We ensure all productions sign up to the Code of Practice that ensures:
- The industry can film effectively, efficiently and flexibly in London
- All involved in location filming acts responsibly, professionally and considerately at all times.
- The practical impact of filming on people and businesses within London is minimised.
This Code details the principles of best practice to which productions agree to adhere to and their relevant obligations to ensure that they operate within the law.
If there is an issue on the day, please get in contact with Merton Film Office on our 24hr monitored number (0207 2471244). Contact either prior or on the day of filming enables Merton Film Office to act appropriately in real time.
Should you wish to make a complaint following filming then please follow our complaint procedure and we shall respond accordingly.
Can a production close a road / obstruct the footways?
Filmmakers are not to obstruct the footways, members of public or traffic unless they have permission from the council to close a road, footpath or implement temporary traffic management for ground control measures.
When filming requires control for scenes, stunts, period filming or to ensure ground control measures are in place then Merton Film Office permits road closures, footpath closures and temporary traffic management to enable for legal & health and safety reasons.
Productions might ask members of public to hold for shot on a footway – this should always be in a polite and professional manner. Often members of public are happy to do but if permissions mentioned above are not in place then they are not required to do so.
Filming is taking place at a property in my neighbourhood or at a neighbour's property – can you stop this from taking place.
Productions obtain permission for filming at private property directly from the property owner. If filming is taking place at private property then we are unable to stop this taking place.
The council has enforcement teams and procedures in place to address anti-social behaviour, excessive levels of noise at premises and light pollutions. More information.
However, productions often require an exterior presence / support from Merton Film Office. This can include exterior filming, lighting or equipment requirements. Productions must contact the Merton Film Office to obtain permission for these. We control what takes place on council land / property with limitations regarding public highway.
Bays have been suspended on my street for filming purposes, why is this?
Parking suspensions tend to be for medium & large scale filming and is often required for a number of reasons including:
- To ensure essential technical vehicles can facilitate filming
- To ensure bays are cleared for shot – for instance for period continuity purposes
- To contain filming equipment for health & safety purposes
We understand that suspending parking in an area increases the impact of filming on location for local residents & businesses. We ensure that impact on this front is minimised at all times, notification letters are sent our in advance, alternative parking is provided free of charge for large parking suspensions where necessary (medium & large scale filming).
We amend requests factoring in the daily running of an area and provide parking solutions that minimise bay suspensions where possible.
If bays are suspended, a yellow suspension sign will be erected highlight the suspension in advance by the council and we ensure that consultation takes place. This enables any concerns and parking issues to be addressed prior to filming taking place.
We work closely with local residents & businesses in the borough so that we understand how best to facilitate filming in areas that receive high-levels of filming and have built-up best practice parking processes to minimise the impact on this front.
My car was parked in a suspended bay but I was away of business/holiday?
The council has set procedures in place to note vehicles parked in bays when suspension signs are erected for this very purpose.
The majority of the time the vehicle will be re-located to the nearest available bay in the area. If the vehicle receives a ticket, the ticket will fully explain the process to ensure full refund of costs. For any additional questions on this front please contact us directly to talk through and provide help/advice where necessary.
For information related to PCNs please contact Merton Parking Department. Information is detailed on the council website here.
I do not want my property to be filmed or myself of family to be filmed, what can I do?
Merton Film Office fully expects professional and responsible behaviour at all times by filmmakers. We consider filmmakers guests in areas where people live and work 365 days of the year and must act accordingly at all times.
Filming Buildings: There are various legal issues productions must consider when filming buildings in London and the UK. Read Film London’s Industry guide to find out about trademarks and logos, defamation, passing off, light displays, iconic buildings, and related information regarding this.
Filming People: There are several rights that apply to the use of a person’s image which filmmakers must consider, particularly filming in the street within London and the UK. Read Film London’s Industry guide to find out more about privacy, data protection, defamation, consent and related information regarding this.
We always welcome feedback from local residents & businesses regarding filming so that we can review management processes and make improvements where possible to ensure a reasonable balance for all parties is maintained.
Filming brings multiple benefits to the borough and its communities – for more information see information detailed in Benefits The UK Film Industry Brings.
When do I need a filming licence?
LOCATION FILMING – You require a filming licence for any filming taking place on council land that is not public highway including; council buildings, parks, estates, markets and libraries.
STREET FILMING – You should always consult with us and send in a film application for all filming on public highway in our client borough of Merton.
For all filming on public highway we require productions / crews to send in application forms in order that we can issue Notices of No Objection for street filming.
This is so that productions sign up to the Code of Practice that details the statutory obligations to which all those engaged in filming must adhere to, in line with the London Filming Partnership.
The Code embodies the spirit of the Partnership, which is to make London a more film-friendly city. It offers assistance to both experienced professionals and new talent alike by providing a clear, simple checklist of practical issues, which may arise in relation to filming in London. It also helps to ensure that the process of filming does not create difficulties for local residents or businesses.
The charges for extra small crews are simply to cover administration costs involved in issuing the NoNo’s. We have kept this as minimal as possible.
What we will do is:
- Issue you a Notice of No Objection for street filming and alert relevant departments in the local authority of your presence.
- Advise you of other activities, events and sensitivities in the area
- Co-ordinate with other shoots in the area.
- Save you money and time by advising you of local parking and other facilities.
- Failing to inform the relevant authorities can result in unnecessary Police resources being deployed. It can disrupt your filming and the local community.
As a general rule if you a making a personal video (under 5 cast & crew) that is not for commercial purposes and you are not causing an obstruction of disturbance on the public highway, you do not require a licence.
How much does a filming licence cost?
View our guide to location fees & charges for more information.
How do I apply for a Filming Licence or Notice of No Objection in Merton?
All filming & photography applications must be sent in via our online filming application platform FilmHub
Do I need Public Liability Insurance?
Yes – All productions are required to obtain PLI (Public Liability Insurance).
The minimum amount of cover we require is £5 million. You may be asked to increase this to £10 million depending on the size & scale of your shoot and activities involved.
If you are a production company, school, university or other public organisation you will probably already have PLI in place.
If you require to discuss a reduced PLI cover amount then contact us and we shall confirm whether we can accept on a case-by-case basis.
Head to Film London to find out more information about media insurance and companies that can provide PLI.
Is consultation required as part of my filming?
Merton Film Office is committed to the belief that the best way to enable filming is to ensure it does not place unreasonable demands on the locale in which it happens. Key to this is adequate prep time, proper planning and effective consultation.
Consultation requirements are key and Merton Film Office will outline all necessary requirements on this front on a case-by-case basis to ensure successful filming for all parties involved.
What are Rested Areas?
We do our upmost to ensure residents and businesses benefit from filming in the area – however if there has been extensive filming in one given place we may require to “Rest” it for a period in order to sustain filming in the long-term for the industry.
Always contact Merton Film Office to check whether filming is viable in the initial instance – if not we will always provide a good alternative!
Are Road Closures required for filming?
When filming requires control for scenes, stunts, period filming or to ensure ground control measures are in place then road closures are required for legal & health and safety reasons.
For all information on road closures and traffic management requirements within Merton, including lead times and costs can be found on our Road Closures and Traffic Management page.
All road closures & traffic management applications for Merton must be applied for via FilmHub, and are subject to agreement and approval on a case-by-case basis.
How do I suspend parking for filming?
Parking plays a crucial role in facilitating filming on location. Merton Film Office works hard to ensure multiple options are in place and the impact of filming vehicles is minimised at all times for local residents & businesses.
Parking bays suspensions are required to clear bays for shot (continuity) and park essential technical vehicles as close to location as possible to minimise impact and reduce Health & Safety in an area.
All parking options, lead times and requirements in Merton are available on our parking page.
All parking applications for Merton must be applied for via FilmHub.
How can I find out if my chosen location is available?
For all locations in Merton see our location library.
Please contact us to check availability of your chosen location. We are constantly bringing new locations to market so if you are unable to find a location that suits your brief or require advice contact us directly with your enquiry on 0207 2471244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will I still be charged if I cancel my filming?
If a shoot is cancelled it will be subject to cancellation fees for any work already carried out.
Cancellation of parking applications will be subject to cancellation fees, the amount is dependent on time frame.