If approved, anyone caught taking part in one of these events could face on-the-spot fines of £100.
The council wants to impose a public space protection order (PSPO) on the wooded area between Homerton Road, the A12 and the River Lea. PSPOs target perceived anti-social behaviour, which in this case would mean banning people from playing loud music or operating a generator. According to Hackney Gazette, penalties for those caught doing so—or if caught selling or in possession of laughing gas—would result in 48-hour dispersal notices or £100 on-the-spot fines for anyone in attendance, and failing that, possible prosecution.
"Wick Woodland is Hackney's green lung, and we want to make sure that it remains a place that everyone can enjoy," said the council's safety chief Cllr Caroline Selman. "We want to introduce these plans to protect both the woodland and the people who live beside it."
Despite the council's various attempts over the years to protect Wick Woodland, the raves have continued, much to the annoyance of local residents, who complain of sleepless nights, fly-tipping and damage to trees and plants.
"Every time I ran rigs there, we swept the site clean afterwards, and we were picking up other peoples' rubbish from the week before," a former rave organiser, who asked to remain anonymous, told Resident Advisor. "It needn't be damaging, but people are idiots unfortunately. Sound-wise, it's possible to have a loud, clear rig in a clearing and to barely even hear it outside the wood, but some people take the piss."
They continued: "Although I'm concerned about the precedent this would set, I actually think it's good for this specific site, because of how rinsed it is. It probably won't put a stop to the raves here though; rig organisers will just try to further monetise the situation to cover potential fines. It's pretty much impossible to try to enforce something like a fine on people who are part of a 300-400-strong crowd, so only the small gatherings will suffer, despite the fact that the big raves are more likely to be the source of the problem."
This is the latest in a series of attempts by Hackney Council to curb the borough's nightlife. In July, the council approved a controversial new licensing policy that will force new venues to shut by midnight on weekends. (Local group We Love Hackney is currently challenging that new policy.)
The Wick Woodland consultation ends on December 5th. Have your say here.