New drone laws being introduced on 30 November 2019 will require owners of drones weighing 250 grams or more to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and for drone pilots to take an online safety test to ensure the UK’s skies are safe from irresponsible flyers.
The changes are part of the future of mobility Grand Challenge, which was laid out in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy. Ensuring drones are being used safely will pave the way for the devices to play an increasingly important role in society.
Drones have the potential to bring great benefits to the UK, they already help inspect national infrastructure like our railways and power stations, and are even aiding disaster relief speeding up the delivery of blood. PwC has predicted the industry could be worth £42 billion in the UK by 2030.
The new laws are being made via an amendment to the Air Navigation Order 2016.Users who fail to register or sit the competency tests could face fines of up to £1,000.
There has been a significant increase in the number of commercial permissions issued by the CAA in the last year. The number of active commercial licences increased from 2,500 to 3,800 in 2017, a year on year growth of 52%.
A recently released PwC report highlighted that the uptake of drones could be worth up to £41.7 billion to the UK GDP by 2030.
The scheme will register operators rather than drones. Once registered the operator will receive a unique code that must be applied to all the drones they are responsible for. The entire process will be online.
Linked to registration is an online drone safety education and test package. This is also a legal requirement from the end of November for anyone flying a drone, whether or not they are a drone owner. There will be no charge for this.