Drone Law UK update: AMENDMENT TO THE UK AIR NAVIGATION ORDER 2016

Drone Law UK update: AMENDMENT TO THE UK AIR NAVIGATION ORDER 2016

Drone Law UK update: AMENDMENT TO THE UK AIR NAVIGATION ORDER 2016

The Department for Transport (DFT) will be laying an amendment to the Air Navigation Order 2016 in Parliament. Following the government’s consultation last year, this will put into law the requirements for:

  1. Operators of drones above 250g to be registered
  2. Pilots flying these drones (known as ‘remote pilots’) to obtain an acknowledgement of competency from the CAA, having passed requirements set by the CAA such as an online safety test to prove their knowledge of the restrictions.
  3. A height limit of 400ft (120m) for all drone flights.
  4. Restriction from flying drones within 1km of protected aerodromes in the UK, unless you have the permission of the Air Traffic Control unit in question.

Drone Law UK update: AMENDMENT TO THE UK AIR NAVIGATION ORDER 2016

When will the Drone rules change?

Measures 1 & 2 will not come into force until 30th November 2019 to give drone users time to adjust to this change and allow the Civil Aviation Authority to complete their work on the systems and educational materials required to implement these policies.

Measures 3 & 4 will come into force sooner on 30th July 2018. With regards to both the 400ft (120m) and airports restrictions, where drone operations are deemed to be safe enough, the CAA will have the power to exempt operators from adhering to these rules. This, according to the DfT will allow safe, innovative and positive commercial use of drone technology to continue.

What UK Drone flyers need to do now?

If you currently adhere to the UK drone code, keep you flights below 400ft, keep well away from airports & manned aviation then you have nothing to do until the second half of 2019.

IF on the other hand you think it a badge of honour to fly as far and high as you can beyond visual line of sight, then from 30th July 2018 things could be expensive and attract a criminal conviction.

The new laws are being made via an amendment to the Air Navigation Order 2016.

Drone users who flout the new height and airport boundary restrictions could be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft. This could result in an unlimited fine, up to five years in prison, or both.

Users who fail to register or sit the competency tests could face fines of up to £1,000.

What else to look out for?

In addition to these measures a draft Drone Bill will be published this summer, which will give police more tailored powers to intervene on the spot if drones are being used inappropriately.

Drone operators will also eventually be required to use apps – so they can access the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally.

Checkout the current Drone code HERE