Drone users must register and sit safety tests, government rules

New rules to better regulate drone use

Story Highlights

  • Drones weighing 250 grams and over will in future have to register
  • Users may be able to register online or through apps
  • The government also plans to bring forward and expand the use of ‘geo-fencing’ in the UK
  • Drones weighing 400 grams could damage the windscreens of helicopters
Under new rules to better regulate their growing use, the government has announced today that Drones will have to be registered and users will have to sit safety awareness tests

Owners of drones weighing 250 grams and over will in future have to register details of their drones to improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly.

Users may be able to register online or through apps, under plans being explored by the government. The move follows safety research that concluded drones could damage the windscreens of helicopters.

In addition, a new drone safety awareness test means owners will have to prove that they understand UK safety, security and privacy regulations.

Drones represent an exciting opportunity for the UK, are already of substantial benefit to business and the public and are central to the government’s Industrial strategy.

Maximising potential

Aviation Minister Lord Callanan said:

“The UK is at the forefront of an exciting and fast growing drones market and it is important we make the most of this emerging global sector.

“Our measures prioritise protecting the public while maximising the full potential of drones. Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives.

“But like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones, introducing safety awareness tests to educate users we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.

These measures come after a consultation looking at ways to make drone use safer while maximising their potential.

Findings by the Department for Transport (DfT), British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) and the Military Aviation Authority (MAA)  reveal drones weighing 400 grams could damage the windscreen of a helicopter.

The government is feeding the data into relevant security and safety bodies alongside manufacturers, to ensure they implement improvements to safety.

The drone code

Always keep your drone in sight

Stay below 400 feet (120 metres) to comply with the drone code

Every time you fly your drone you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions

Keep the right distance from people and property

You are responsible for each flight

Stay well away from aircraft, airports and airfields

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