If you want to use a drone that weighs 250g or more, you’ll soon have to register the details of your device and also sit safety awareness tests under plans to better regulate the growing use of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The test will require you to prove that you understand security, privacy and safety regulations here in the UK. The proposal is a direct result of safety research that revealed that drones could potentially damage the windscreens of helicopters.
Findings from a study undertaken by the Military Aviation Authority, the British Airline Pilots’ Association and the Department for Transport indicated that drones weighing 400g could damage helicopter windscreens, although airliner screens were found to be more resilient. It would take a drone of about 2kg to damage an airliner windscreen critically – and the airliner would have to be flying at high speed, not during landing or take-off.
There are many benefits that drone use can yield for businesses, helping to boost productivity and safety, as well as helping the emergency services… and the government is still keen for the UK to be the main choice for companies, innovators, scientists and investors in technology.
As such, it’s keen to push forward the use of geo-fencing in the UK, which can serve as an invisible shield of sorts around sensitive areas and buildings. The tech is built into drones and prevents them from entering zones like airport space or prisons.
Lord Callanan, Aviation Minister, commented on the news, saying: “Our measures prioritise protecting the public while maximising the full potential of drones. Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives.
“But like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones, introducing safety awareness tests to educate users we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.”
Drones do provide good opportunities for companies and the public sector to help improve services, create high tech jobs and boost the wider economy. Police, fire services and search and rescue teams are already using these UAVs, while road, rail and energy suppliers use them to inspect and maintain the country’s infrastructure. And no doubt, as the technology develops, we’ll increasingly see drone use in other areas to achieve similar results.
It’s worth noting, however, that drones can be misused and do pose challenges to privacy, security and safety. Being aware of the rules surrounding drone use, so you do not inadvertently end up breaking the law. You should also note that there are potential fines of up to £2,500 for breaking rules such as flying over high-risk or sensitive sites like airports… so make sure you are using your drones both responsibly and safely.
If you’d like help mitigating risk in your workplace or making sure your emergency response plans are workable, get in touch with us at HFR Solutions CIC today.