The government plans to introduce new measures to ensure the successful uptake of drones is matched by strong safeguards to protect the public.
Measures out for consultation today (21 December 2016) include:
- mandatory registration of new drones
- tougher penalties for illegal flying near no-fly zones and new signs for no-fly zones at sensitive sites such as airports and prisons
- making drones electronically identifiable so the owner’s details can be passed to police if they are spotted breaking the law
The consultation will also consider whether there is a need for a new criminal offense for misuse of drones. The government is determined to make the most of this emerging technology, estimated to be worth around £102 billion by 2025. But ministers are clear it will only be a success if it is done safely, and with the consent of the public.
Aviation Minister, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, said:
“Drones have enormous economic potential and are already being used by emergency services, transport and energy providers and conservation groups to improve services, respond to incidents and save lives.
While the vast majority of drone users are law-abiding and have good intentions, some operators are not aware of the rules, or choose to break them, putting public safety, privacy and security at risk. The government is taking a common sense approach to tackling this behaviour, ensuring the safe roll-out of this technology.”
Current regulations balance clear rules on safety and strong penalties for misuse, and companies using drones for commercial purposes need permission to ensure they are operated responsibly.