Respect for the Cenotaph and its special place in the heart of London is vitally important. Therefore Westminster City Council takes any requests for filming in Whitehall and near the Cenotaph very seriously indeed. There is a lengthy planning process that takes place before any shoot, taking into proper account the heritage and national importance of these special sites, monuments and memorials.
In this case, permission was given for the Top Gear car to drive down Whitehall before moving to another location. However, what the Top Gear team did on the day was not what had been agreed during the planning process. At no time had the BBC producers made Westminster City Council aware that the car was going to be doing anything but drive down Whitehall. There was no discussion between BBC producers and Westminster City Council about wheel spins and a 'donut’ and permission would not have been given to do so. We have spoken to the producers today to express our disappointment and we welcome the statement from Top Gear presenter Chris Evans who has said this footage will not be shown.
We support filming in central London and others have used the same location without any incident. We are very sorry for any upset that has been caused and will be strengthening our procedures to make sure that film and TV production companies will not deviate from pre-agreed plans in the future.
In this specific location, the Top Gear car was to drive down one side of Whitehall and then return, before heading off to their next location.
Any costs have been picked up by the event organiser (the BBC) – as is standard with all filming applications on the public highway. We do not generate revenue from this kind of filming activity.