Skip to main content

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 34503, tabled on 18 April 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of regulations relating to drones and public safety.

Answered on

26 April 2016

The Government’s primary responsibility is the safety and security of our citizens. That is why we apply one of the highest regulatory safety standards for commercial aviation in the world.

There are existing regulations in place that require users of drones to maintain direct, unaided visual contact with their vehicle and to not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property. Guidance on tackling the risks of criminal drone use has been provided to constabularies across the UK.

The Department and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) work with a wide range of industry partners across the aviation sector, (including manufacturers, airports, and airlines), to ensure our understanding of potential hazards to aircraft remains up-to-date and mitigations effective. Further work is underway to better understand the risk posed by flying drones close to commercial planes to ensure that regulations remain fit for purpose.

The Cross Government Working Group on RPAS has undertaken analysis of the use of drones for criminal purposes, including the potential use of drones for terrorist purposes, and the impacts of their negligent use near sensitive locations, such as airports. This work is kept under review and is being used to inform research and testing to improve mitigation techniques and strategies.

Awareness and education on current restrictions are vitally important. The Civil Aviation Authority is undertaking activities to raise awareness of the basic safety requirements, including an ongoing ‘Dronecode’ safety awareness campaign, issuing safety leaflets at the point of sale, publishing an animated video on their website, and running ‘small UAS’ Risk and Hazard workshops with industry as part of the Mid Air Collision Programme.