It frustrates us here at Hovershotz, the amount of cowboys and unsafe drone flyers who are jepodising the UK drone flying community and professional operators. Now at long last the UK government and the CAA are introducing new legislation that will give Police more powers to tackle unsafe or illegal use of drones. We witness on a weekly basis all sorts of irresponsible and illegal activities with drones across Cumbria Lancashire and the Lake District. Also, You-tube is full of videos from irresponsible drone owners who are proud of their dangerous and illegal activities.
These measures are aimed to allow accountable drone users & operators to continue flying safely and legally, helping to place the United Kingdom at the forefront of the fast-growing drone industry. This will also lead the way for the UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles) & SUAS (small unmanned aerial systems) to be channelled for a range of uses by businesses and public services.
The draft Drone Bill, which the Government will be publishing in early 2018, will give Police officers the right to order drone operators to ground their drones where deemed necessary. Enforcement officers will also be able to seize drones and ancillary equipment to prove it has been used to commit an offence.
It will become mandatory for drone owners to register themselves and their equipment to ensure accountability . All drone pilots/operators will be required to use specific apps – so they can use the information required to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally.
The banning drones from flying in close proximity to airports or above 400 feet should also form part of the new regulations.
The UK Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg is quoted as:
Drones have great potential and we want to do everything possible to harness the benefits of this technology as it develops.
But if we are to realise the full potential of this incredibly exciting technology, we have to take steps to stop illegal use of these devices and address safety and privacy concerns.
These new laws strike a balance, to allow the vast majority of drone users to continue flying safely and responsibly, while also paving the way for drone technology to revolutionise businesses and public services.
In addition the government will publish the draft Drone Bill for consultation and introduce secondary legislation amendments in spring 2018. Changes to the Air Navigation Order (ANO) will mean that that:
- all drone users will have to sit and pass safety awareness tests
- users of drones weighing over 250 grams and will in future have to be registered
The government is also working closely with drone manufacturers such as DJI & Yuneec to use geo-fencing to prevent drones from entering restricted zones.
The Flying High Challenge, funded by the government and run by Nesta in partnership with Innovate UK, is set to launch tomorrow (Monday, 27 November) when cities will be invited to register their interest.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Criminal Misuse of Drones, Assistant Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said:
Police forces are aware of the ever increasing use of drones by members of the public and we are working with all relevant partners to understand the threats that this new technology can pose when used irresponsibly or illegally. Do not take this lightly – if you use a drone to invade people’s privacy or engage in disruptive behaviour, you could face serious criminal charges.
Police officers will use all available powers to investigate reports of criminal misuse of drones and seek the appropriate penalty. Make sure you know the rules for using a drone because it is always your responsibility to ensure that you are acting within the law and in line with the Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone Code.
Tim Johnson, Policy Director at the CAA said:
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) supports the safe development of drones in the UK. Drones can bring economic and workplace safety benefits but to achieve those we need everyone flying a drone now to do so safely. We welcome plans to increase drone operator training, safety awareness and the creation of no-fly zones.
We have been working with Government and the aviation and drone industries to educate drone operators by successfully promoting the Dronecode , which provides an easy to follow guide to UK drone rules.
The process to report any illegal drone activity is to phone the Police on 101 and report the transgression.
It’s also worth pointing out that aerial photography and filming from drones could be covered by data protection and CCTV legislation read more here https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/drones/