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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Filming code of conduct

Any filming undertaken and any liability therefore, is the sole responsibility of the production company and its employees.

Whenever this document refers to film, the term includes all other visual media such as television, commercials, corporate and music videos, cable, satellite, websites etc.

It is a requirement of Dorset Council for all productions to agree to the code of practice, prior to filming. The Council reserves the right to impose additional terms and conditions that take account of the specific location, significant scale or the form of activities to be filmed prior to the granting of approval to film.

Dorset Council will accept no liability for loss, financial or otherwise, alleged to have occurred as a result of these guidelines.

These guidelines are not exhaustive and may be subject to change.

Permissions and information

No filming activity should take place until permissions have been granted by all the Council.

The production company must ensure that all those affected by filming have been consulted and informed of arrangements:

  • productions must ask Dorset Council for permission to film on any land or building that is owned by the sovereign councils prior to the filming taking place
  • productions needing permission to film must provide Dorset Council with the following details:
    • the name of the production company, the type of production and a contact person and telephone number
    • the scale of the production in terms of numbers of personnel and vehicles
    • the type of shots and equipment being used – including the use of drones or intending to stream ‘live’ footage
    • the removal, alteration and disguising of street furniture and carriageway markings
    • the use of cranes, aircraft, cherrypickers, track, low-loaders, ‘A’ frames and other potentially hazardous equipment in a public place
    • the use of special effects, rain or snow machines, wet downs and stunt work on public footways or carriageways
    • productions which depict subjects of a controversial nature
    • filming involving children or animals (performances involving children may require a Performance Licence)
    • adequate public liability insurance and other relevant insurances
  • if a payment for filming is required, this must be paid up front before the permit is issued. This can be done online or over the phone. In certain instances an invoice can be issued
  • depending on the nature of your filming activity, it is your responsibility to inform local police of filming activity within their districts. Special guidance should be sought with the following:
    • the staging of crimes, accidents or use of firearms
    • the dressing of artistes in police uniforms. It is an offence to impersonate a police officer and cast should be asked to cover such uniforms in between takes
  • depending on the nature of your filming activity, it is your responsibility to contact the local emergency services. Access for emergency vehicles must always be maintained during location filming
  • special guidance should be sought with the following:
    • special effects, fires or explosions
    • the impersonation of fire officers or use of pseudo fire tenders
    • the impersonation of ambulance staff or use of pseudo ambulances
  • Dorset Council will require a copy of the company’s public liability insurance document (covering £10m), for any filming done on any council managed or owned building or space
  • Dorset Council will require a copy of the company’s employer’s liability insurance (covering £10m)

Health and safety

It is the responsibility of the permit holder to ensure their own compliance, or that their employees and contractors, are in compliance with current Health & Safety regulations when filming on location:

  • It is the permit holder’s responsibility to identity and mitigate any risks or hazards that may occur during the filming activity. This includes supplying a risk assessment or health and safety statement or plan. Dorset Council will require a copy of this assessment/statement/plan
  • If an incident occurs, it is your responsibility to inform Dorset Council

Respect for residents and members of the public

Film-makers on location are visitors and should be sensitive to the community in which they are working. Members of the Public should be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times:

  • productions that Dorset Council believe will have an impact on the local community should give no less than seven days’ notice by letter to relevant residents and/or businesses. A copy of the letter needs to be sent to the Dorset Council prior to the letter drop
  • if the notice period is less than seven days a representative of the production company should contact, in person, any affected property owners
  • noise should be kept to a minimum, especially during unsociable hours (normally 10 pm. to 8 am). In most circumstances, silent or baffled generators should be used. The noise from walkie talkies should be minimised at night by using the relevant technology
  • crew members should keep access to homes and businesses clear at all times, unless otherwise negotiated with the individuals concerned
  • lighting and other equipment must not cause a hazard to the general public. Cables should be flown to a height of 2.6m above the footway and 5.2m above the carriageway or covered with matting when crossing pavements. Where appropriate warning cones and hazard tape should be used
  • no danger should be caused by the dazzle of lights
  • if filming activity blocks a footway, an alternative safe and supervised route for pedestrians must be provided. Dropped kerbs must also be available where necessary
  • attention should be paid to the additional needs of disabled community members to ensure adequate access and egress to homes and businesses are maintained

Observing designated areas

Film-makers’ activities should be limited to areas and times for which permission has been granted:

  • production vehicles should only be parked in the areas agreed to by Dorset Council. Crew vehicles should not be parked on pavements or kerbs
  • no smoking areas must be observed. Where smoking is allowed, cigarettes must be extinguished in the ashtrays provided by the company
  • crew members must not trespass on to neighbouring property or enter areas of a location which the owner has stipulated may not be used for filming

Care of the location

Film-makers are guests on a location and must treat both public and private property with the utmost respect:

  • it is the responsibility of the production company to ensure that all rubbish is cleared from the location immediately
  • objects belonging to the location must not be moved or removed without the owner’s express permission
  • all signs or property removed or disguised for filming purposes must be reinstated upon completion of filming
  • the company must make good any damage or mess caused by its activities immediately after filming and must notify all parties concerned. You may be liable for any costs incurred
  • the crew member responsible for the location should check it thoroughly before departure to ensure that the property has been restored to its original state and that any evidence of filming activity has been removed


Dorset Council monitors filming through the filming application form:

  • by completing and submitting the online application form you confirm your acceptance of and agreement to be bound by the terms and conditions detailed within the Code of Conduct. Until the application has been received and the permit has been issued you do not have our consent to proceed
  • Dorset Council will not be responsible for application refusals or delays in processing applications
  • you will comply with all applicable requirements of and all your obligations under the Data Protection Legislation which arise in connection with any permit to film at the location

For the purposes of this Code “Data Protection Legislation” means all applicable data protection legislation and privacy legislation in force from time to time in the UK including:

  • the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679)
  • the Data Protection Act 2018
  • the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive 2002/58/EC (as updated by Directive 2009/136/EC)
  • the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/2426); any other directly applicable European Union regulation relating to privacy
  • and all other legislation and regulatory requirements in force from time to time which apply to a party relating to the use of Personal Data and the privacy of electronic communications

Unless you choose to opt out via the online application form, Dorset Council will keep your business’ data for up to 6 years. This excludes students and private individuals.

You may be contacted by Partner Organisations for promotional and marketing opportunities.

Filming privacy notice

If you need to change your filming date after submitting your application, Dorset Council is happy to amend the date to another day within the month of the original filming date (pending approval from asset managers).  Any further date changes will incur an admin fee of £25. There is a cap on changing the filming dates after three times as it may impact other projects/event schedules. You will then need to submit another filming application.

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