POLICE have reported a dramatic surge in neighbour rows and snooping fears involving drones.
On April 28, 2019, flights were diverted after there were sightings of the flying gadgets at Gatwick Airport. Here are the new laws on using these gadgets.
What are the drone laws in the UK?
BBC2 will be airing a new documentary called ‘Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones.’ on Monday July 1.
High-risk specialist Aldo Kane investigates the threat drones pose to UK skies.
You do not need to register your drone or get a permit for a recreational drone in the UK.
If you are planning to use your drone for paid work, you will need Permission for Aerial Work – which must be reviewed annually.
The Civil Aviation Association is quick to point out that to keep drone flight safe and legal you may need permission depending on where you would like to fly the drone.
The Department of Transport launched new rules over the use of drones on July 30 2018.
- Drones must fly below an altitude of 400ft
- Drones that weigh more than 250g will need to be formally registered with the CAA
- Drone pilots must be able to present their registration documents when asked to do so by police
- Drone users will be told to use apps to plan their flights, to ensure they are not entering unsafe or no-fly zones
But the rules to follow are the key ones:
- Keep your drone within your line of sight and at a maximum height of 400ft.
- Make sure your drone is within 500m of you horizontally.
- Always fly well away from aircraft, helicopters, airports, and airfields.
- If it is fitted with a camera, make sure it is at least 50m away from a person, vehicle, building or structure not owned or controlled by the pilot.
- Camera-equipped drones must not be flown within 150m of a congested area of a large group of people.
What happened at Gatwick Airport?
On April 28, 2019, at least four flights into Gatwick were diverted to Stansted airport following reports of a drone in the area.
Passengers travelling from Amsterdam and Barcelona into the West Sussex airport were diverted.
A flight from Heraklion in Greece that was due to land at 4.23pm was also diverted to Stansted.
The captain told those onboard the easyJet flight from Amsterdam that a plane had been in “close proximity” to a drone.
Another easyJet flight from Berlin was diverted to the Essex airport before refuelling and heading back to Gatwick.
A representative for Gatwick said the pilot of one of the disrupted flights reported a sighting of a drone.
But nothing was picked up on radar or on the airport’s anti-drone systems.
A full assessment took place around 4.05pm and all the diverted flights began returning to Gatwick.
When is it illegal to use drones?
An unmanned aircraft must not be flown within the flight restriction zone of a protected aerodrome.
Where there is an air traffic control unit a flight at any height is prohibited.
Drones have been banned from flying above 400ft, and within one kilometre (0.6 miles) of airport boundaries.
It comes after 93 near-misses between drones and aircrafts were reported in 2017.
Children could be banned from flying drones weighing at least 250 grams.
The use of drones with cameras is also banned in congested areas or at a public event.
Aside from military missions, there are thousands of civilian drones used for aerial crop surveys, photography, search and rescue operations and delivering medical supplies to inaccessible reasons, among others.
Is there a fine?
Anyone breaching these restrictions will face penalties of up to £2,500 and could be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft.
This has a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Other measures being considered include giving police the power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to £300 for misuse and the ability to seize drones being used irresponsibly.
Have there been other drone sightings at airports?
Drones nearly hit passenger planes 18 times in just three months, including a 70ft miss as a jet flew into Heathrow.
The terrifying incident — 3,000ft above West London — saw “a large commercial drone” skim close to an 850-seater Airbus A380 as it came into land, it was revealed.
The Gatwick Grinch drone operator who ruined Christmas plans for thousands of Brits could have been an airport worker, it has been revealed.
Cops are probing a line of inquiry the huge disruption caused at the airport was an inside job, Whitehall sources told the Times.
On April 1, 2019, there was chaos at Milan airport over reports of drone sightings resulting in grounded planes and delays.
The news comes as it was revealed Britain will slap a three-mile “drone exclusion zone” around major airports from March 13, 2019.
And the Home Office confirms a new Bill will be laid later in 2019 to give police powers to stop and search drone users – and access electronic data stored on the hi-tech device.
Can police use drones to fight crime?
In November 2018 is was revealed that new drone units have been deployed to arm officers with eye-in-the-sky technology in a bid to tackle vandals and yobs in the street.
The drones are armed with state-of-the-art cameras capable of taking high definition pictures and videos from hundreds of metres away.
Superintendent Chris Hill told The Sun Online: “We are looking at utilising new technologies in order to aid frontline policing and safeguard communities.
“As part of this we have trained pilots who are trialling the use of drones to support frontline policing.”
MORE ON DRONES
What’s the latest?
Eco-warriors have tried and failed to launch flimsy “toy” drones in a calamitous bid to disrupt Heathrow Airport.
The woeful plot was busted by police in the last 24 hours leading to the arrest of nine members of activist group Heathrow Pause – a splinter faction of Extinction Rebellion.
Earlier today, a live stream was shared on the group’s Twitter account, showing two people struggling to get a drone off the ground.
The two men, filming themselves near a road, said they were experiencing “a technical glitch” as they held the faulty gadget above their heads.
Heathrow Pause has since tweeted that they believe their efforts were thwarted by signal-jamming equipment at the travel hub.
The Met Police said they had arrested two climate protesters who were caught within the 5km exclusion zone of the UK’s busiest airport.
They were detained “on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance”, cops said.
Despite the police bust, some eco-warriors are determined to carry out the protest today – although Heathrow has confirmed that the airport is “fully operational”.
One of the drone pilots taking part in the action said as many as 35 people were willing to fly the devices.