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Drone law in the UK

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What are Drones?

Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are simply machines that are remotely controlled by a person on the ground. They were once exclusively used by the military when it deemed too dangerous to send a manned aircraft.

However drones are now becoming more popular with businesses and the general public as technology gets better and the cost goes down.

Are drones legal?

The short answer is yes. However there are rules and regulations that you must adhere to in order to ensure you are on the right side of the law. As drones are still quite new, the law around their use is constantly evolving so it is a good idea to ensure that you are fully up-to-date with the latest changes.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has guidance on using drones for both private and commercial use.

What are the rules for flying drones in the UK?

If you are flying your drone for personal use you must ensure you follow the below rules.

  • Your drone must weigh under 20kg
  • You can’t fly above 400 feet in altitude or 500 metres from you horizontally
  • Ensure your drone is always in sight
  • Always keep away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields
  • Use your common sense and fly your aircraft safely

If your drone is fitted with a camera there are additional regulations you must follow.

  • You must not fly within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or vessels
  • Your drone must not be flown within 150 metres of a congested area or any large group of people such as a concert or sporting event as you may be prosecuted.
  • If you intend to record in an area where people are, you must inform them before you start.

If you intend to use the drone for commercial purposes you must have permission from the CAA and comply with additional laws governing their use.

To get guidance on operating permissions for drones see the CAA’s website for the latest information and regulations regarding drone use.

 

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