Unmanned Aerial Systems conference finds Bath a squeeze

The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) annual conference has had to move outside of the city of Bath, says organiser citing a lack of space for its delegates.

The conference showcases military and civilian use of unmanned aerial devices and was due to take place at the Assembly Rooms, 25-27 June. Among delegates expected to attend were several high-level representatives from the Ministry of Defence.

Organisers moved the conference to the event’s academic partner Cranfield University. It will now be held at the university’s Shrivenham campus in Wiltshire.

UAS’ Duncan Reid said that as well as providing more space for the event, the university has a number of pre-existing static displays needed to demonstrate the aerial drones.

“The surge in demand has been attributed to greater press coverage than a specialist conference of this type would usually receive and a greater focus on the growing civilian, humanitarian and commercial sectors which these vehicles are used for in addition to their military uses,” he added.

A protest group called Bath Stop the Drones ran a five-hour public meeting on 9 June to discuss plans to oppose the event.

According to the Bath Chronicle newspaper, the peace campaigners had tried to persuade Bath and North East Somerset Council to withdraw permission for the conference to use the venue, but the authority stood its ground, saying the city had long links with the defence industry.