Radical UK drone law overhaul coming in 2018 with police given new powers

The British government is pushing forward with a new UK drone laws that will require UAV owners to pass a safety awareness test, before they can send a backpack-sized aircraft weighing more than 250g into the sky. 

The laws, if approved, will forbid drones from being flown near commercial airports. Operators will be able to use government-backed applications – and websites – to determine whether their planned flight is legal.

As part of the draft bill, which is expected to be published in spring 2018, the police will also be given new powers to ground and seize drones that they suspect have been used to aid and abet criminal activity.

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There are a number of grey areas, so it will be at a senior officer’s discretion to decide whether their team can legally ground a drone. One thing’s for certain, however: if it’s being flown in restricted airspace, it can and will be downed.

The proposals – which were first mooted by a Department of Transport statement back in July 2017 – are the government’s latest response to an increase in drone-related incidents.

In July, for example, a collapsible aircraft flew over the wing of a passenger jet as it came into land at Gatwick Airport, putting 130 lives at risk.

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“These proposals are a step towards the safe integration of drones, but until the new rules are in place the threat of a serious collision remains,” said British Airline Pilots’ Association General Secretary Brian Strutton.

What do you think of the proposed drone laws? Will they deter you from using your – or picking up a – drone? Be sure to let us know over on Facebook or Twitter @TrustedReviews.

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