Rules and Regulations
Filming in Public Spaces
If you want to film on public land you will need permission from the appropriate local authority or council. They are responsible for public land, public buildings, roads and parking. Only Cardiff has a dedicated Film Unit within the Council which issues filming permits, but contact Wales Screen for details of other local authorities/councils.
Further details about filming in public spaces can be found on the British Film Commission’s website.
For more information about filming in Cardiff see the Cardiff Film Office website.
Health & Safety
Productions should ensure that they take reasonable care to ensure a safe working environment for all their employees. Risk assessments should be completed prior to location filming, and are essential in the case of stunts and when using firearms or weapons. Risk Assessments are required by most companies to satisfy their insurance provisions and as an obligation to their employees. The Health and Safety Executive website provides comprehensive guidance for the entertainment industry.
In conjunction with our stakeholders, Creative Wales has published high-level guidance for a phased return for the Creative Industries in Wales.
We have also put together some frequently asked questions which may help explain how the Guidelines will work in practice.
Visual Effects, Stunts and Weaponry
You will need the permission of the police and obey control measures if you intend to use certain special effects, fake firearms, weapons, police uniforms, marked police vehicles etc. Where appropriate, especially when special effects and pyrotechnics are to be used, local residents and businesses should be informed in advance. All effects should be overseen by a qualified experienced supervisor.
The Health and Safety Executive provides comprehensive online information sheets:
- Special or visual effects involving explosives or pyrotechnics used in film and television productions
- Stunts, fights and other potentially hazardous production activities
- Management of firearms and other weapons in productions
Filming of scenes involving nudity, offensive language, etc. must be shielded from the public and where appropriate should be approved by the local authority and police.
All productions must adhere to UK employment legislation and should observe their legal responsibility regarding the National Minimum Wage and Working Time Regulations. Further information is available on the GOV.UK website.
For information relating to production staff rates of pay and rights at work you should contact BECTU, the media and entertainment union. The BECTU Wales Office can be contacted on 029 2066 6557.
The type and level of insurance is largely dependent on the scale of a production. Small personal projects require public liability and equipment insurance. Larger productions by law require both public liability and employers' liability insurance. Every production should provide a copy of their public liability insurance to the location owner for all location filming. As a guide most local authorities ask for a minimum of £10 million cover for public liability insurance.
Filming with Children
There are very specific regulations relating to child performers. For performers under the age of 17 a Child Performance Licence is required. Licences are issued by the Local Authority in which the child resides. Further information on licensing can be found on the National Network for Children in Employment & Entertainment website.
Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed workplaces and public spaces in Wales and this includes film sets.
There is no special dispensation for the Arts that exists in England.
Parking, Traffic Management and Road Closures
Roadside parking in towns and cities is often restricted and parking fines strictly imposed. If you are arranging unit parking, Wales Screen can put you in touch with contacts in the relevant local authority as well as the local police.
In most instances filming requirements can be met by controlling traffic rather than closing roads and this can be discussed with the local authority and police. Wales Screen has direct links to officers in Highways and Properties departments. Officers are usually able to grant permission for filming on council property and for road closures, provided the road in question is not a trunk road (main arterial route). If you do need to close a trunk road, permission must be sought from the Welsh Government and film makers should bear in mind that applications may take several months.
Customs & Immigration
Wales is a nation within the United Kingdom. There are no additional visa requirements above and beyond those for entering the UK. Wales Screen does not act as a guarantor for visa applications. There are no customs or immigration controls on the border with England although if you are entering Wales via sea or airports from anywhere outside the UK, normal visa and customs requirements will apply.