Official Announcment follows:
- Extended ‘no-fly zone’ banning drones and model aircraft from 5km of runways to come into force next month
- Government to give police new anti-drone misuse stop and search powers
- New partnership with retailer as part of a national campaign ahead of new law
The government and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have today (20 February) announced a new partnership with the retailer Jessops, as part of a national campaign to increase public awareness of the rules around flying drones. Working with the CAA, the government is dialling up a campaign to help educate the public about responsible drone use, including issuing a digital toolkit to airports to help them raise awareness of the new rules.
Following on from new laws last year restricting the use of drones and bringing forward a new drone-users register, today, the government also announced new legislation to extend the ‘no-fly’ zone around airports, banning drones from flying within 5km of runways.
The new exclusion zone will be increased by several kilometres, including banning drone flight within 5km of runway ends. The enlarged zone will better protect the UK’s airports from those misusing drones, and will come into force on March 13.
Work to progress a new Drones Bill is also underway and will be introduced in due course. It will give police officers powers to stop and search people suspected of using drones maliciously above 400ft or within 5km of an airport – helping them to tackle disruption such as that seen at Gatwick in December. It will also give additional new powers to the police to clamp down on those misusing drones and other small unmanned aircraft – including the power to access electronic data stored on a drone with a warrant.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“The law is clear that flying a drone near an airport is a serious criminal act. We’re now going even further and extending the no-fly zone to help keep our airports secure and our skies safe.
“We are also working to raise awareness of the rules in place. Anyone flying their drone within the vicinity of an airport should know they are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“Extending stop and search to include drones will help police tackle disruption like the recent misery we saw at UK airports, when travel was ruined for thousands of innocent passengers, and bring those responsible to justice.“Police are clear that stop and search is one of the most powerful tools they have to target and disrupt crime and I remain committed to giving them all the support they need to protect the public.”
Ian Savage, Head of Retail and Academy Training at Jessops, said:
“Drones are one of the most exciting ways of capturing stunning aerial photos and videos, and with prices more affordable than ever they are within reach of any budding photographer and videographer. Many are intuitive and simple to operate, making them ideal for beginners, while the more sophisticated models now offer features such as full manual control of the camera and stunning 4K 60fps video, that help advanced photographers take their shots to the next level.
“Along with the pleasure drones bring comes a responsibility for the user to ensure they are flying their drone safely and legally. As one of the leading drone retailers Jessops is committed to ensuring it communicates the new laws to all its customers, and it will be doing this through extensive training from our dedicated drone specialists Connor Keenan and Jon Dick.”
Tim Johnson, Policy Director at the CAA, said:
“It is illegal to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment. Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations. The rules for flying drones are designed to keep all airspace users safe.
“The CAA’s Dronecode provides advice on how to fly your drone safely and follow the rules. you can see it at www.dronesafe.uk “
The Home Office is also reviewing the UK’s approach to countering the malicious use of drones, and will consider how best to protect the full range of the UK’s critical national infrastructure – including testing and evaluating technology to counter drones.
The Home Office will also extend stop and search to people suspected of carrying corrosives substances in a public place, which will help prevent acid attacks. Currently, they must be suspected of intent to cause injury.
~ Ends ~
- It is already against the law to fly a drone above 400ft or within 1km of an airport boundary. If you recklessly or negligently endanger an aircraft with a drone it is a criminal offence and you could go to prison for up to five years.
- The intentional use of a device to commit an act of violence at an airport which could cause death, serious personal injury or endanger safe operations could result in life in prison, under the Aviation and Maritime Security Act.
- It is against the law to fly a drone near an airport or airfield boundary. Report suspicious drone activity to your local police or call Crimestoppers UK on 0800 555 111.
- The extension of stop and search to misuse of drones will include their associated items including sim cards and controllers.
- The Government is also working closely with the police to examine whether they have the appropriate powers to respond effectively to other offences that might be committed using a drone. If this work reveals further operational gaps, the Government will take further legislative action.
- From 30 November 2019, operators of drones between 250g and 20kg will be required to register and drone pilots take an online competency test. This will improve accountability of drone use and ensure the UK’s skies are safer from irresponsible flyers.
- Drones with an operating mass of more than 20 kg are subject to the whole of the UK Aviation regulations (as listed within the UK Air Navigation Order – ANO).
- The CAA’s ‘dronecode’ provides advice on how to fly your drone safely and follow the rules at all times. More information on the rules for drone users can be found atwww.dronesafe.uk
- The new exclusion zones will be increased to the current Air Traffic Zone (ATZ) around airports (approximately a 5km radius circle), with additional extensions from runway ends.
- The CAA holds partnerships with retailers who follow a specific set of guidelines when selling drones, to ensure consumers properly education on when, where, and how they can use their drones safely. Consumers are encouraged to look out for the DroneSafe symbol to ensure they are buying their drones from a trustworthy and responsible supplier. Find out more here.
- The partnership with Jessops follows the retailer’s commitment to clearly advertise drone rules to their customers.
- Drone users can fly within the restriction zones if they have the correct permission from air traffic control or the airport.