To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to assess the potential merits of its proposals on drones to be included in the planned Modern Transport Bill; and what assessment he has made of the need for temporary measures to ensure public safety related to drones until such proposals have been enacted.
9 June 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 an aircraft to endanger any person or property. There are severe penalties in place for misuse of drones, such as up to five years imprisonment for endangering an aircraft.
The Department for Transport (DfT) 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. 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.
Guidance on tackling the risks of criminal drone use has been provided to constabularies across the UK. The Secretary of State has recently written to Police to request their assistance in raising awareness of drone risks and restrictions.
Communication and education of users on current safety restrictions will be key. Officials from my Department are actively considering with the CAA the development of an expanded and diversified communication and education campaign, to include more mediums and supporting products.
The Government is planning to consult on a range of measures on drones over the summer, and will then seek any further appropriate legislative measures through the Modern Transport Bill.