The Department of Transport publishes responses to last year’s consultation on regulating drones
A draft Drones Bill, giving public powers to request information from drone users and to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for minor offences is to be brought forward in 2019.
The proposals in the Bill were the subject of a consultation last year and the results of that exercise have just been published confirming that the legislation will go ahead. If passed, the Bill will give the police, in short and subject to certain caveats, powers to
Alongside these powers the police will have powers to impose FPNs on drone operators refusing to comply with some of these requests and for some Air Navigation Order offences, such as flying a small drone with a camera within 50m of people.
The consultation also sought views on other matters such as the optimal radius for a no-fly zone for drones around airports, which is particularly topical given the events at Gatwick over Christmas 2018. There was a strong consensus from airports and airlines that the current 1km radius is inadequate as it does not extend far enough to fully ensure that manned aircraft do not come within close proximity to a drone if the drone is flying at the maximum 400ft, particularly along landing and take-off paths. To account for this, a rectangular exclusion zone of 5km and 1km wide along a runway will be introduced.
It is interesting to note that the consultation received over 5,000 responses, 3,800 of which were from individuals who used drones for leisure or were model aircraft flyers. The impact of these individuals was reflected in exemptions from some of the regulations to be granted to members of qualifying model aircraft flying associations.
The full response, which also touches on the use of counter-drone technology, can be found on the DoT website