To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to further restrict the use of drones to ensure (a) the safety of aircraft and (b) privacy of members of the public.
4 May 2016
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 their craft to endanger any person or property. There are also tough existing penalties, including up to five years imprisonment for endangering an aircraft. Guidance on tackling the risks of criminal drone use has been provided to constabularies across the UK. The Secretary of State has written to the Police to request their assistance in raising awareness of drone risks and restrictions.
The Department continues to work with the CAA and industry partners to assess the safety risk of drones. It is also currently working with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to develop consistent, EU-wide safety rules for drones. A public consultation is planned for the summer. This will look at a range of options including registration and licensing options, and the potential for restrictions on purchase and use.
Operators of drones that might collect personal data must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) unless a relevant exemption applies. The requirements of the DPA are regulated by the independent Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and their website provides clear guidance to operators.