New legislation for UK drone hobbyists

oznorBY Harris Cumming

THE NEW rules which are set to come into force later this month, will mandate any drone owner in the UK with a craft in excess of 250g to register with the Civil Aviation Authority.  Those who fail to comply risk being fined up to £1000.

To register, users must first pay an annual fee of £9. In addition to registering their devices, drone pilots will also be required to take an online theory test to ensure they know the potential dangers of flying these machines.

For many this news is long overdue, as rogue drones have already been causing chaos for a number of years. In December 2018, up to 760 flights were grounded at Gatwick airport when drones were flown dangerously close to the runway.

Douglas Harper, a professional drone user, argues that the new rules are necessary to prevent continued drone misuse by inexperienced hobbyists.

He said: ” It will be very good for those who are qualified, from a commercial stance. There are too many rogue drone operators out there who are unqualified and don’t understand how dangerous drones can be.”

However, not everybody agrees that these new rules will prove effective in what they set out to achieve.

Dr Frederic Bezombes, Senior lecturer and director of flight operations at Liverpool John Moores University, argues that the new legislation will have limited impact.

He said: “It will be more of an annoyance for people who are trying to use the drones properly, but it won’t stop most people from doing it, it’s so easy to buy them online now”

He adds: “For example, if I want now, I could go on eBay and buy a class 3 laser. That is after they put regulations in place about lasers, and people are still flashing them at helicopters and other aircraft.”




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