United Kingdom Drone Laws

There’s be quite a few high profile incidents involving drones in the United Kingdom recently, with the most high profile one being when Gatwick airport was closed due to one being spotted twice in a hour (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/gatwick-airport-drone-latest-disruption-flight-diverted-easyjet-runway-closed-a7819841.html)

So I thought as a keen drone operator to write a quick overview on the slightly complex law around drones in the UK and other things to consider.

The main is to remember the heights you can fly at…

When your operating your drone, you need to make sure that it doesn’t endanger anyone or anything.That means keeping your drone within your visual line of sight, which means that it should be no more than 400 feet above you and  500 feet in front of you. If your wanted to go more than this, then you would have to get a permit from the CAA which involves proving that you can fly safely.

Drone use and Date Protection

Another thing to consider is data protection, if your taking photos or video footage, this may apply as people may be identifiable. As you may already know, the United Kingdom’s data laws are highly complex, there,’s requirements such as how images should be collected, stored and also used so it would be worth reading up on the Data Protection Act 1998.

This is especially important of your carrying out surveillance (if you need advice on this, send me a message as I’m a holder of a CAA permit and also CCTV licenced by the SIA)

Flying in Built up Areas

Seeing this is the United Kingdom, chances are this will count to you (looking at people who fly in their back gardens) basically if you want to fly in any congested area or a open-air assembly where there are 1,000 persons present  or more, you need to make sure that your drone is beyond 150 metres of the area or the event and if you wish to fly your drone in an area where there will be any thing not under your control (cars, lorry, people, boats and buildings ect), then you need to make sure you maintain a distance of at least 50 metres between your drone and those properties.

And that’s a quick guide to flying drones in the United Kingdom, of course there’s a lot better guides out there and this isn’t meant as any legal guidance in any way.

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