Drones from a niche geek gadget to High Street mainstay…
23 May 2019 by Sarah Shea
The subject of drone usage in the UK is very topical at the moment.
Drones have gone from being a niche geek gadget to High Street mainstay over the last couple of years. As they’ve grown more popular, we’ve also seen year-on-year increases in disruptive and potentially dangerous incidents involving them.
On 20 February 2019, the United Kingdom Government published an amendment to the UK Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO). The amendment contains changes to the legislation regarding the operation of small unmanned aircraft; the amendment is published as Statutory Instrument (SI) 2019 No. 261 entitled ‘The Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2019’.
The Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2019 can be found at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/
Drone operator registration now becomes a legal requirement in the UK at the end of November 2019.
Presently, if you intend to fly a drone recreational purposes, you do not need to obtain a specific licence. If a drone pilot intends to fly for commercial purposes, they are required to obtain a licence from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Whether you are flying for recreational or commercial purposes, you must observe the Air Navigation Order (SI 2016/765) provisions.
The overarching rules are that you must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property. The provision catches drones within its ambit.
A person intending to fly a drone must also comply with the following:
- Not to fly more than 400 feet from the surface of the ground without express permission from the Civil Aviation Authority;
- A flyer must also maintain direct visual contact with the drone at all times;
- Nothing should be dropped from the drone; and
- The drone must not fly within 5 km of a protected aerodrome.
If a drone is equipped with a surveillance camera, it is prohibited from flying within 150 metres of a congested area; as well as within 50 metres of any person. During take-off and landing, the drone must not be flown within 30 metres of any person either.
It is a criminal offence to breach the provisions of the Air Navigation Order. Compensation can be payable if the drone causes injury to a person, or damage to property.
It is important to check the current laws before flying as the government proposes to tighten registration requirements from October 2019.
If you require further information on the above, please contact us by calling 01206 700113 or email [email protected].
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