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New Rules for Drone Operators

Over the last few years, drones have become increasingly popular among both individuals and businesses (such as for photography purposes and delivery use), and the drone market is particularly lucrative.

If you already fly a drone, or if you’re thinking about flying one, you will be interested to know that the UK has announced new rules for the operation of drones which prevent you from flying it unrestricted. You can find out more information here.

All drones must now be registered with the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that the drones are not being used where they shouldn’t be.

A new risk-based, three tier system has come into force, meaning that some drones will require a risk assessment prior to authorisation by a national aviation authority (medium risk/specific category) and larger drones must follow aviation rules (high risk/certified category). Different categories depend on the weight of a drone.

Most drones, which are flown as a hobby, are likely to come into the low-risk (open) category and do not have to be authorised, however they must still be registered. Low-risk drones will be subject to additional rules based on the drone’s weight. For example, a drone weighing less than 250g can be flown over people, whereas heavier drones cannot.

Recently, the remote pilot minimum age requirement was removed for the open and specific categories (you can read more about that here), but flyers are still required to obtain ID and pass a theory test (with the Civil Aviation Authority) before flying drones which weigh 250g or more near people.

More information can be found on the Civil Aviation Authority website, which we suggest reviewing prior to buying and flying a drone.

As drones become more common, are flown as a hobby and used for business purposes, the rules are likely to adapt and change with time. It is therefore important to check updates regularly, so you do not fall foul of these rules.

For more updates on the latest topical issues and changes to the law, keep an eye on our blog page.


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Chris Allen

Managing Partner
0113 227 9228
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Chris Allen Blacks Solicitors LLP