12 November
WLC Logo Placeholder image

The event is privately operated and the organisers withdrew two of the licensing applications required for the event, with the West Lothian Licensing Committee refusing a further two at a meeting on Thursday 11 November.

The organisers anticipated that 50,000 members of the public would attend over its duration.   In light of that, public safety concerns centred around the risk of granting new licenses to an event which could attract significant numbers of people from around Scotland, and therefore could present a real risk of being the source of a large outbreak.

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: "It is unfortunate that the Beecraigs Festive Forest event is unable to take place this year due to public safety concerns around the Covid-19 pandemic.  

"We supported this event last year and would engage with organisers regarding future events.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has led to similar concerns over other festive events that attract crowds leading to their cancellation, including Edinburgh's Christmas Market and the Enchanted Forest event in Pitlochry.

"Whilst is it regrettable that Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact on events and the day-to-day lives of people, public safety is the overriding factor in the decision not to issue the licenses sought for the event." 

He added: "The Licensing Committee decide each application on its own merits. It is not a like-for-like comparison to compare this new application with any other local attractions which have existing licenses in place.

"There is never a guarantee that a license application will be granted, which the Festive Forest organisers would have been aware of when they submitted their applications in October 2020. 

"At this time, West Lothian was placed on Level 3 of the Scottish Government's Covid-19 Protection Levels due to the high levels of transmission. People were also advised not to travel out with their local authority area as part of a range of measure aimed at bringing down the transmission rate, which would allow the protection level for West Lothian to be reduced.

"Every council area in Scotland's Central Belt has been placed on this second-highest level to try and reduce the spread of the virus, and it was also announced this week that the UK is the first nation in Europe to exceed 50,000 deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This shows that Covid-19 pandemic still poses a huge risk, so public safety and risk of transmission much be a key factor in considering any new license for an event which attracts crowds."

The organisers were present at the Licensing Committee and were provided with the reasons as to why this decision was made.

Customers Notice:

This event is operated by Rowen Events.  All customer enquiries should be directed to Rowen Events.