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New Year 2020: London to welcome in new decade with Big Ben and 12,000 fireworks | UK News

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The UK is gearing up to welcome in a brand-new decade – with 12,000 fireworks set to light up the sky over London as Big Ben chimes in the first seconds of 2020.

About 2,000 of the fireworks will be set off from the London Eye and the rest will come from barges moored along the River Thames.

The display will be set to a soundtrack “inspired by London and Europe”, according to a spokeswoman for Mayor Sadiq Khan.



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Remember this? Here’s how London welcomed in 2019

Cat Fortune, executive producer at events company Jack Morton, which is helping put on the display, said: “London New Year’s Eve is really about bringing people together and we want to celebrate the year ahead.

“It is also a new decade this year, so that’s really exciting, and also events on London’s calendar this year are quite exciting, so we are making a nod towards that as well.”

The capital is set to host several key games in the Euro 2020 football tournament over the coming months.

Big Ben will chime in the first seconds of 2020, having been silent all year for renovation work.

More than 100,000 tickets have been sold for the event and police said those who do not have a ticket will not be allowed in.

A face of the Big Ben clock tower is seen a day before New Year celebrations, during which the bells of Big Ben will chime at midnight, despite otherwise being silent for the duration of the restoration works
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Big Ben will be back in action for the New Year celebrations

Travel on Transport for London services will be free between 11.45pm on New Year’s Eve and 4.30am on New Year’s Day.

But travellers further afield are being warned to check train times, with South Western Railway’s dispute over the role of train guards in its final week.

The train company has said that New Year’s Eve will be affected, with many services cancelled or replaced by buses.

Many services will finish earlier than usual and there will be no mainline trains running beyond Basingstoke or Guildford after midnight.

An amended timetable will operate on 2 and 3 January, even though the strike will be over by then.

The Celtic Fire Theatre company PyroCeltica lead the annual torchlight procession as it makes its way along Edinburgh's Royal Mile towards Holyrood Park for the start of the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations.
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Edinburgh’s procession was the beginning of Hogmanay celebrations.
Members of the public take part in the annual torchlight procession as it makes its way along Edinburgh's Royal Mile towards Holyrood Park for the start of the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations.
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The annual torchlight procession made its way along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile towards Holyrood Park

In Edinburgh, there will be a river of fire created along the city’s Royal Mile following Monday’s annual torchlight procession.

Manchester, Cardiff, Newcastle, Inverness and Nottingham are among the major cities celebrating with fireworks.

The forecast is for cold but dry weather with temperatures of around 1C (33.8F) or 2C (35.6F) in Scotland and parts of northern England. The rest of the UK is likely to see night-time temperatures around 5C (41F).

Auckland was the first major city to welcome 2019
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Auckland is the first major city to welcome the new year

Elsewhere around the world, the first major country to welcome in 2020 will be New Zealand at 11am UK time followed a few hours later by parts of Australia’s east coast.

Sydney, Australia’s largest city, has been choked by smoke from bushfires for many weeks and officials needed permission from the fire service for the annual fireworks display to go ahead this year.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said: “The pyrotechnics organisations and local authorities are used to working with us around exemptions in the summer period, whether it is Christmas, New Year or some other event.”

Around £3m was spent on Sydney's firework display last year
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Around £3m was spent on Sydney’s firework display last year

The Australian capital Canberra cancelled its display over bushfire fears and a petition calling for Sydney’s display to be cancelled – with the money instead being donated to firefighters, farmers and animal carers – has been signed by almost 300,000 people.

However, Sydney’s mayor says the display has already been paid for.

People celebrate New Year's Eve in Times Square in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., December 31, 2018
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New York’s celebrations will be dominated by security concerns

In New York, the focus will be on security, with thousands of police officers on duty in Times Square, some with long guns and bomb detector dogs.

For the first time, police drones are expected to watch over those celebrating – similar plans were shelved last year due to rain.

John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for counterterrorism and intelligence, said: “Times Square is probably going to be the safest place on the planet Earth on New Year’s Eve because nobody else puts that kind of effort into an event like this.”

Other major cities celebrating include Tokyo at 3pm UK time, Moscow at 9pm, Cairo at 10pm, and most European cities at 11pm.

Buenos Aires will follow London’s celebrations at 3am UK time on New Year’s Day, with New York at 5am and Los Angeles at 8am.

Outlying US islands such as Baker Island and Howland Island will be the last to celebrate at 12pm UK time.

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