December 29, 2018

What’s happening about drone regulations in 2019


Drone regulations flying are highly regulated in the UK and there are laws and guidelines in place. The new legislation is due to take effect in 2019. Some drone laws have been in place since 2017. These amend the existing air navigation order of 2016.

UAV operators in the UK are ban from exceeding 400 feet at and from using a drone within a radius of 1 kilometer of an airport. Contravention of this law can mean unlimited fines and up to five years in prison. 

Department of Transport Regulations

Moreover, in 2018 the Department of Transport implemented new rules whereby if drones run to over 250 grams in weight. Drone pilots are required to register their drones with the CAA and pass a series of exams and practical tests in order to operate safely and legally. This is known as the PfCO, Permission for Commercial Operations. Those who fail to register and pass the exams may fine up to £1000 for commercially using drones. The new laws form part of the government's new industrial strategy and aim to plan for the expansion of drone use throughout the UK. Some exemptions for some UK airports may deem necessary and further information on this is still to confirm. The new drone bill features several new laws that are due to come into effect but have not yet announce. 

To minimize the impact on model aircraft associations the government is a point to examples of the positive use of drones. For example, to inspect Hinckley's point nuclear power station, hospitals and public buildings. In other examples drones are also used to reduce costs of wind turbine inspections 50%. So, the potential for drone use within industry and business is only starting to realize. It is estimate PwC that uptake in the use of drones could add over £1 billion to the UK economy in the next 15 years. So drone regulation is important and is forcing the industry to become much more professional. 

Increased safety in drone use

Department of Transport expects the new rules to increase safety when protecting the public whilst also ensuring the increase benefits of drones within the industry. Regulations now cover remote operators of drones as well as a pilot in charge, or SUA operator. Existing regulations require commercial drone pilots to update their operations manual with appropriate information. Any applications or renewals which are not update will cancel.

International Drone Regulation

Regulations bring the UK in line with other international laws for drones and focus directly on the reduction of unsafe operation, public safety, and protection. As well as recognizing the positive impact of drone use with industry and commerce. What is important is that if you’re planning a drone survey it’s vital that your drone pilot is register and competent in the use of drones. You should check that they have the appropriate training and certification (PfCO) to ensure that you are working with a professional drone operator. Otherwise, you may find yourself falling foul of the law which inevitably will impact your business negatively. For more information on the drone, regulations contact us today. 

Recent Drone Issues

As of today 23rdDecember 2018. We are bombard with the recent news of illegal drone activity over the UK’s Gatwick airport. At this stage, we are not sure who is operating the drones within the restrict airspace. But it highlights the massive security and safety issues associated with drone operations and how we can all keep this industry safe and regular. Over the next few months, we will see how the government reacts to this story. Who is behind it and the legislations that will ensue. As we’re sure that something will happen to try and stop this debacle happening again. So in the meantime, watch the skies, drone safe and best for 2019!

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