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New UK drones laws coming in 2018

By Dan Wilson November 28, 2017 - 5:13 pm

The UK government is planning new drones laws that will mean users will need to take a basic online safety test and also register their drone. Needless to say the main concern is safety and cases where drones might be used for nefarious purposes.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg explains that many drones will require an online safety test to check that the users are competent and aware of possible hazards. Police will also be able to search and seize drones if they have grounds for suspicions.

Sugg says: “Under our new laws, users of all but the very smallest drones will need to take an online safety awareness test before they take to the skies. Similar to a driving theory test, the drone test will assess users’ knowledge of the rules and make sure they are able to fly safely. When new drone users have passed their test, both they and their drones will be registered as safe to fly. Thanks to this registration system, owners of drones that are being misused will be traceable by police. And under laws we will proposing to Parliament next year, we will also give police the right to search for and seize a drone where there is a reasonable belief that a crime is taking place.”

The obvious question that springs to mind regards delivery drones and the emerging technology that Amazon is investing in heavily, not least with a facility in Cambridge, UK. To what extent will their plans be impacted by the new regulations? It’s worth noting that the exact details of the drones laws legislation have yet to be revealed in entirety.

But what the Minister seems to be saying is that autonomous drones operated remotely are still not on the cards. Naturally that may change in future, and commercial operators may get special dispensation, but at the moment it looks like they will still need to be human operated from a close proximity.

  • Richard Christon
    10 months ago

    Get real – how can this possibility be enforced?

    • james
      10 months ago

      quite easily one would imagine.
      similar to the registration of air rifles or motor vehicles.
      yes some poeple may opt not to properly register their weapons or vehicles, they people get their bums skelped if caught in possession of an unregistered one.

  • Peter
    10 months ago

    What about rc planes ,helicopters ,gliders ,jet’s they can be heavier and faster than drone’s is there any changes to them or is just government picking on drone’s,personally I fly all of them just as a recreational hobby and how abaut other rc vehicles such as cars bouts etcetc.I don’t think that there is possibility of creating idiot proof legislation ,this is just another money making legislation for government.

    • james
      10 months ago

      they’ve all been around for ages and never really caused any issues.

      the problem with drones is they are relatively idiot-proof, even a moron can keep a drone longer than a week, i’ve yet to see such people control an RC helicopter or plane long enough to cause a hazard to anyone but themselves.

      RC cars and boats would be hard-pushed to cause damage even if you wanted to, you’d need to actually load it with explosives, and then it’s already 12 shades of illegal, same if you’re trying to drive it on a public road etc. so no extra legislation required.

  • Paul cox
    10 months ago

    I do not believe half of the alleged near miss incidents they claim about drones are causing, most quality drones like those built by DJI, YUNEEC, PARROT and others have tech built into the drones that knows where NFZs are and prevents you flying over them! As has been reported recently some pilots have a problem distinguishing between a drone and a plastic bag!
    Even if you get all the drones registered the problem will still be there, cheap drones (RC units) can be purchased really cheap and do not share the same tech as a normal drone so would not be restricted in invading airports etc!
    The same goes for any other RC Aircraft in this issue and to only target drones is in my opinion unfair and ultimately short sighted. Personally everyone in RC and drone communities should be part of this new set up but I know it won’t happen.

    As much as I’m in agreement of the registration scheme I doubt everyone will sign up. Time will tell.

  • Mark
    10 months ago

    The new legislation will not affect Amazon’s drone delivery plans. Autonomous drones, out of direct line of site from their human minder, were not legal before the new legislation.

    A major change in the law would be needed to allow unattended drone delivery services. This would only come about after it can be proven that the drones are safe. This is similar to the plans for driverless cars.

  • Mike
    10 months ago

    The people are doing bad things with drones and flying at airports are the exact same people that will ignore all these regulations.

    What this will do is piss off people who use drones every day without breaking the law.

    I personally will not be doing (paying) for any registration and will continue to fly planes/drones. I have not killed anyone or hit a plane so far.

  • Jason Cross
    10 months ago

    I’m still very unclear on what a Drone is, I fly mini quads which don’t have GPS or rely on Gyros to stabilise, esstially what class do these fall into….Drones or Moldel Aircraft? Should be latter as it takes a level of skill to fly one and generally is all close proximity flying compared to a GPS drone where you can fly long range on a pre determined and planned route…

  • Chris
    10 months ago

    “Thanks to this registration system, owners of drones that are being misused will be traceable by police.” This is clearly pure bureaucratic fantasy, not a single criminal will be stupid enough to voluntarily register their aircraft then fly it into a prison. Even if registration was forced before purchase they would steal one, buy online from overseas or build their own (very easy). This will only affect hobbyists, not criminals.

  • 10 months ago

    We had a small plane pilot report that his plane had been hit by a Drone whilst coming in to land. The media went into a frenzy calling for the ban of Drones and explaining that privacy is being compromised.
    No Drone was found on the air strip. Test were made on the small dent on the plane and it was determined that the plane hit a Flying fruit bat. No apology to drone flyers for getting wrong, instead legislation for all drones not to be within 5.5 kilometres of an airport or helicopter pad which may or may not be used.
    Stuffing it all up for responsible droners.

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