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New UK drone piloting and operation legislation implemented


From December 31 2020, new legislation will be introduced in the UK to monitor drone piloting and activity, reports the BBC.

The operational rules make it easier for drone owners to be traced and monitored, whilst also outlining where they are permitted to fly.

New regulations

The simplified legislation – which mirrors that which has been implemented in all EU member countries – has removed distinctions between recreational and commercial drone usage.

The new regulations will even require owners of small drones to register them with the appropriate aviation authorities – in the UK, this is the Civil Aviation Authority. The primary aim is to ensure owners are acting responsibly so that the relevant authorities can take action if a drone is, for example, flown into the wrong airspace.

There were frequent occurrences of drone user irresponsibility reported by the UK Airprox Board in 2020; an EasyJet flight almost being struck by a drone at 8,000ft was just one of the many notable incidents.

The new rules will categorise drones by the following:

Low-risk (or open-category drones) – subject to operational limitations but will not require any authorisation.

Medium-risk (or specific-category drones) – require authorisation from the National Aviation Authority through risk assessment.

High-risk (or certified-category drones) – need to follow aviation rules – this is set to apply to future drone flights with passengers.