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New rules and regulations for flying drones

31 May 2018

New laws have been introduced by the Government that restrict all drones from flying above 400 feet and within 1km of airport boundaries.

Shutterstock image

These measures aim to reduce the number of incidents at airports and the possibility of damage to windows and engines of planes and helicopters. The changes will take place as of 30 July 2018.

The new laws also require owners of drones weighing 250g or more to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and for drone pilots to take an online safety test. These requirements will come into force as of 30 November 2019 and aim to ensure that the sky is safer from irresponsible pilots.

Chris Woodroofe, Chief Operating Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“We welcome the clarity that today’s announcement provides as it leaves no doubt that anyone flying a drone must stay well away from aircraft, airports and airfields.

Drones open up some exciting possibilities but must be used responsibly. These clear regulations, combined with new surveillance technology, will help the police apprehend and prosecute anyone endangering the travelling public.”

Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said:

“We welcome this new legislation that will help drone pilots to understand more clearly safety around drone flight. With rapidly expanding industrial and amateur drone use in the UK, registration and safety tests will ensure that all drone pilots fly in safe spaces and understand where they are allowed to fly. In particular, the legislation clarifies the rules around how far drones need to be kept away from airspace around airports.

“The Institution of Mechanical Engineers supports innovative drone design and next month is holding its UAS Challenge, an annual drone design competition for students from over 20 universities in the UK and abroad. All students taking part in the Challenge will be required to understand the requirements of these new rules.”

A draft Drones Bill will be published in the summer, giving police more tailored powers to intervene on the spot if drones are being used inappropriately. Drone pilots will also be required to use apps on which information can be easily accessed on safety and legality. 

Video courtesy of Department for Transport

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