Ministers plan to introduce new safeguards on the use of drones following several scares around airports and the use of drones to smuggle items into prisons.
The Government will consider whether there is a need for a new criminal offence for misuse of drones. Other measures put out to consultation include:
- mandatory registration of new drones
- tougher penalties for illegal flying near no-fly zones and new signs for no-fly zones at sensitive sites such as airports and prisons
- making drones electronically identifiable so the owner’s details can be passed to police if they are spotted breaking the law
Aviation minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said drones were already being used in a range of areas including transport but ‘some operators are not aware of the rules, or choose to break them, putting public safety, privacy and security at risk’.
‘The Government is taking a common sense approach to tackling this behaviour, ensuring the safe roll-out of this technology.’
Tim Johnson, policy director at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said: ‘Our priority is the safe operation of drones and we cannot underestimate the importance of understanding how to use drones safely and responsibly. The new CAA Dronecode, which forms part of our wider drone awareness campaign, is designed to help protect the safety of the wider aviation industry.’
The CAA’s safety code and dronesafe website and the recently released NATS safety app for drone users, Drone assist, are important tools in encouraging safe and legal drone use.
Drone technology is estimated to be worth around £102bn by 2025.