LONDON: Police in Britain will be given new powers to prevent the unsafe or criminal use of drones as part of a new package of legislation announced Sunday.
Banning drones from flying near airports or above 122 meters will also form part of the new regulations.
New drone-safety laws will help put the UK at the forefront of drone technology development, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.
New measures will also make it mandatory for drone owners to register to improve accountability. And drone operators will be required to use apps – so they can access the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally.
The clampdown aims to allow drone users to continue flying safely and legally, helping to place the UK at the forefront of the fast-growing drone industry. It will also pave the way for the devices to be harnessed for a range of uses by businesses and public services.
The draft Drone Bill, which will be published next spring, will give officers the right to order operators to ground drones where necessary. Officers will also be able to seize drone parts to prove it has been used to commit an offence.
The news comes as funding for a pioneering new drones program was announced to help cities shape the way drone technology operates.
Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said: “Drones have great potential and we want to do everything possible to harness the benefits of this technology as it develops. But if we are to realise the full potential of this incredibly exciting technology, we have to take steps to stop illegal use of these devices and address safety and privacy concerns.”
“These new laws strike a balance, to allow the vast majority of drone users to continue flying safely and responsibly, while also paving the way for drone technology to revolutionise businesses and public services.”
Changes to the law will mean that drone users will have to sit for safety awareness tests. Users of drones weighing 250 grams and over will have to be registered, while the government is also working closely with drone manufacturers to use geo-fencing to prevent drones from entering restricted zones.
A government-funded Flying High Challenge is to launch Monday when up to five British cities will be supported in the research and development of drone technology.
The research could transform critical services in emergency health services and the transport of human organs for transplants. It could also lead to essential transport infrastructure assessment and repair, and parcel delivery and logistics.
Assistant Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said, the national police spokesperson for the criminal misuse of drones, said: “We are working with relevant partners to understand the threats this new technology can pose when used irresponsibly or illegally. If you use a drone to invade people’s privacy or engage in disruptive behavior, you could face serious criminal charges.”
Tim Johnson, Policy Director at the Civil Aviation Authority welcomed plans to increase drone operator training and the creation of no-fly zones.