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UK drone owners may have to pass a test under new regulations

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Ministers in the UK have proposed new measures to increase drone safety that could see owners of the devices having to pass a test.

The new regulations are aimed at preventing collisions with passenger jets, and would also require drone users to register their devices.

While rules are already in place for drone usage in the UK, a number of near-miss incidents involving drones and planes have prompted ministers to consider stricter measures.

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Just this month, a drone was said to have narrowly missed the right wing of a Boeing 767 while it was landing at Manchester airport, while another came within 20 metres of an Airbus A320 near Heathrow.

Aviation minister Lord Ahmad said: “While the vast majority of drone users are law-abiding and have good intentions, some operators are not aware of the rules or choose to break them, putting public safety, privacy and security at risk”.

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As it stands, only drones used for commercial purposes have to be registered with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), but under the proposed new rules, drones heavier than 250g would have to be registered, and owners would have to take a safety test similar to the Driving Theory test.

The CAA's current regulations also state that drones should be kept in line of sight and flown no higher than 120 metres, while drones fitted with a camera cannot fly within 50 metres of buildings, vehicles, people, or over large crowds.

Should the new rules become law, fines would be increased and the those who fly their drones in 'no-fly zones' would become criminally liable.

Ministers are also proposing that drones become electronically identifiable to ensure the owner can be traced should the new rules be broken.

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Let us know what you think of the proposed measures in the comments.

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