The UK government recently announced a whole host of new rules and regulations for drone users in the UK, that will come into force in 2018. To help make things a little easier for you, we’ve outlined exactly what you need to know, and the steps you can take now to make sure you’re compliant when the rules come into force.
UK drone regulations
The current UK drone regulations can be a little unclear, but generally, recreational drone users must:
- Not use their drone for commercial purposes
- Not fly a drone weighing over 20kg
- Always keep the drone within their sight
- Fly below an altitude of 400ft, if your UAV weighs over 7kg
- Stay 150 ft away from people and buildings, if your drone is equipped with a camera
- Keep 500 ft away from crowds and/or built up areas, if your drone is equipped with a camera
- Avoid flying over or 150 ft near to open areas with more than 1,000 people present
- Adhere to their local council’s rules about drone flights in the area
- Only fly their drones as and when it is safe to do so
New drone regulations in 2018
Following the announcement of new drone laws, UK drone enthusiasts are scrambling to make sure they are compliant before the laws come into force. Carry on reading to find out exactly what these new laws mean for you.
Drone size and registration rules
Under the new laws, drones weighing over 250g will need to be formally registered. This will affect the majority of drone users as even small drones such as the DJI Spark exceed this weight limit. Drone pilots must be able to present their registration documents if requested to do so by the police. Those who fail to register their drone before flying could be given a £1,000 fine.
The 400 ft height limit, which currently only applies to UAVs over 7kg, will be becoming a requirement for drones between 250g and 7kg.
Following suit from other countries across Europe, drone pilots will be required to take a drone safety test before they’re allowed to fly. It’s not yet known how or where drone pilots will be able to take this test, but the government has said they’re developing training materials for drone users. If drone users were to fly without passing the tests beforehand, they could be faced with a £1,000 fine.
Increased police powers
If a drone pilot is suspected of flying unsafely or carrying out any illegal activities with their drone, police will have powers to ground the drone and seize it and any memory cards as evidence.
Drone users will also need to be able to present their registration documents if requested by the police.
Apps and geofencing
Drone users will be told to use apps to plan their flights, to make sure that they are not entering unsafe or no-fly zones. Other drone users in the area will be able to see any nearby flights, to help avoid crashes. Geofencing will also be implemented to help drone users know if they’re close to a no-fly area.
Although drone pilots are currently advised not to fly near airports, this may be made completely illegal in the new drone bill. The new regulations will restrict drones from flying within 1 km of any airport’s boundaries. These new restrictions stem from an increasing number of incidents occurring between drones and aircrafts.
No matter what size or type of drone you have, it’s important to keep your drone and all of its accessories well protected. Check out our range of drone cases here, to make sure your gadgets are safe from water, dust and knocks.