Latest update on UK drone laws changes in July 2017

Drones have become one of the most trending electronic gadgets of late. However, drones are not toys anymore. These are categorized as UAV (unmanned aircraft vehicle) in several countries. There is a distinct responsibility when it comes to flying large sized drones.

Drone flying in the UK

The UK already had a specific law regarding the sale, purchase and use of drones within the country. However, this regulation has been changed recently, in end of July 2017, when the Department of Transport issued a statement detailing measures that would help to better regulate the registration of drones and issuing licenses for drone flying to new buyers and first timer in the UK. According to the department, the changes are aimed to “improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly”. The users can easily register their drones through a smartphone app or online.

What is going to be affected by the recent changes in drone laws by the UK government?

Registration criteria

As opposed to earlier where users were required to register drones that were 20 kg or more, the recent changes require registering drones that weigh 250 g and more. This is a significant change as it covers almost any conventional commercial drone.

Licensing

The recent changes in UK drone laws also direct stricter competency tests for users to ensure that they are familiar with the UK safety, security and privacy regulations.

Airspace demarcation

The UK government is also working to implement a new geo-fencing technology that would inform the registered users about the specific fly zones and help avoid fines by flying in a no-fly zone by accident.

How to fly a drone safely according to regulations in the UK?

According to CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) regulations, drone flyers must ensure that lightweight (less than 20 kg) and smaller sized consumer drones must fly within a flight ceiling of 120 meters. The drone should always be kept in line of sight and should not fly closer than 50 meters from the people and any private property. In case of dense construction and public spaces with crowds, the drone should be limited to over 150 meters from the space.

The government is also planning on creating new offences to cover this new area of legal regulation and increase penalties to prevent breaking of this law. Law enforcement agencies are likely to be given special training and powers to enact these regulations strictly for protecting the privacy and safety of others in public spaces.

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