Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Consultation on the safe use of drones in the UK


Today the Department for Transport (DfT) published the new document and online survey entitled "Consultation on the safe use of drones in the UK"

The areas covered are as follow:

Proposal A Testing Drones in the UK
Proposal B Pilot competency and licensing
Proposal C Insurance
Proposal D Improving Leisure drone user's awareness of the law
Proposal E Improving deterrents
Proposal F No drone flying zones and enforcement
Proposal G Registration of drones
Proposal H Electronic identification of drones
Proposal I Drone traffic management
The law applicable to the use of drones in the UK includes both aviation-specific and general law. Safety is the primary focus of the relevant aviation rules which differ depending on the weight of the drone which is being flown.

Currently, the safe use of drones weighing no more than 150kg is subject to UK aviation regulation only, in particular the Air Navigation Order 2016.

The safe use of drones weighing more than 150kg is regulated by European law set out in Regulation (EC) 216/2008 (known as the Basic Regulation) and its amending acts. This Regulation, which sets the mandate of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), is currently being renegotiated, and the new proposal covers all drones, regardless of weight. The Government broadly supports the proposals of the European Commission and EASA to develop clear harmonised rules to ensure the safe operation of drones across Europe and particularly the UK. We at Flyby Technology fully support and endorse any sensible measures brought in to protect our industry and make the safety of the public and our pilots easier to guarantee.

On 23 June, the EU referendum took place and the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future once the UK has left the EU.

The Government is considering carefully all the potential implications arising for our aviation industry from the UK’s exit from the EU, including the implications for the continued participation in the EASA system. Until we leave, EU law will continue to apply to the UK, alongside national rules.

The new consultation is in reaction to EU mandates, however, Flyby Technology believes the approach taken by EASA, the CAA and the DfT to be sensible and has the full backing of our company.

From any rule change comes opportunity and the drone industry has only just begun. If we are to enjoy new capabilities, enabled by technological advances, we have to understand that the regulatory framework has to be allowed to catch up. The UK is unarguably the world leader in the industry and the DfT should be congratulated on having the vision and the courage to tackle very difficult areas of law and not over-react to the problems caused by less than disciplined drone users.

Over the coming days Flyby Technology will endeavour to give you our opinion on the questions asked in the public consultation. We shall not cover each individual question but we shall endeavour to articulate both sides of the arguments within each of the sections above. We will also pose some thought-provoking questions to help you in forming your own ideas about how to complete the survey.

In summary Flyby technology fully supports the consultation, and the concepts behind many of the measures proposed within it. We are, however, a fully independent organisation with a viewpoint. That viewpoint never changes, we wish to see our industry flourish, and that can only happen if pilots are well trained and operate within the regulations. We urge all readers to complete the survey and offer your opinion to inform debate at the DfT. The decision-makers do listen and here is your chance to be heard.