Drones and the Law
What are drones?
When are drones a problem?
What are the rules?
If you have bought a drone for personal use, then you have some responsibilities relating to your use of that drone. Breaching these duties can result in prosecution. It is advisable to consult the Civilian Aviation Authority Air Navigation Order 2016, specifically Articles 94, 95 and 241. You can download the ‘Drone Code’ from the website dronesafe.uk. You must understand your essential duties as a drone owner, many of which are common sense:
– know how to fly your drone safely, and do so within the law
– understand that the operator is legally responsible for every flight
– keep your drone in sight at all times – stay below 400ft
– don’t fly your drone over a congested area
– never fly within 50 metres of a person, vehicle or building not under your control
– ensure any images you obtain using the drone do not break privacy laws
– avoid collisions – you should never fly a drone near an airport or close to aircraft.
It is a criminal offence to endanger the safety of an aircraft in flight. If you break the rules, you could threaten life and also face prosecution, in some cases resulting in imprisonment or a substantial fine.
Are there extra rules when using drones for commercial purposes?
If you want to use a drone for commercial purposes, for example as an estate agent to take aerial video of properties for sale, then permission must be sought from the Civilian Aviation Authority. It is also expected that you will attend an accredited course which will test your knowledge of and competence with drones.
What about cross-overs into the military’s use of drones?
Any drone use completed for the Ministry of Defence is regulated by the Military Aviation Authority. Tasks such as surveys at height, photography and multimedia activities are covered by these provisions, and one should look at Regulatory Articles 1600, 2320 and 2321 for specific requirements.
The bottom line
So, drones can be fun and useful but come with their fair share of responsibilities. If you follow the principles highlighted above, you will be much less likely to fall foul of the rules and regulations governing this exciting new technology.
If you would like more information about this article, or advice in connection with an issue involving a drone then please contact a member of our team.