The Government has introduced new laws on flying drones – and anyone breaking the rules faces five years in jail.
Changes came into effect this month to help ensure drones are used safely and responsibly.
But users who flout the new restrictions could be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft.
This comes following a year-on-year increase in the report of drone incidents – with 93 in 2017.
As well as five years in jail, the penalty is also an unlimited fine.
- All drones are restricted from flying above 400ft and within 1km of airport boundaries
- Drones weighing 250g or more will need to be registered with the Civil Aviation Authority
- Pilots of drones over 250g or more need to take an online safety test
- Users who fail to register or sit the competency tests could face fines of up to £1,000
- Drone operators will soon need to use apps so they can access the information needed
- Police also have more power to intervene
Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister, said:
“We are seeing fast growth in the numbers of drones being used, both commercially and for fun. Whilst we want this industry to innovate and grow, we need to protect planes, helicopters and their passengers from the increasing numbers of drones in our skies. These new laws will help ensure drones are used safely and responsibly.”
Chris Woodroofe, COO, Gatwick Airport, said:
“We welcome the clarity that today’s announcement provides as it leaves no doubt that anyone flying a drone must stay well away from aircraft, airports and airfields. Drones open up some exciting possibilities but must be used responsibly. These clear regulations, combined with new surveillance technology, will help the police apprehend and prosecute anyone endangering the traveling public.”