UK Drone Bill May Ban Children From Flying Drones Over 250g
In a new bill drafted by the Uk Department for Transport, children could be banned from flying drones weighing over 250g.
The bill is that latest in a series of proposals that aim to reduce the risk of collisions with aircraft and allay privacy concerns.
There has been a conspicuously steep rise in the frequency of aircraft incidents involving drones in the past few years, with a 25% increase reported in 2017, and research funded by the DfT indicating that a drone weighing 400g could smash a helicopter windscreen.
In the beginning of the year a police drone had a “near-miss” with a fighter jet travelling at 520 mph (836 km/h), a report according to the UK Airprox Board has revealed. The drone was flying at an altitude of about 300 ft (90m) on 16 January, according to the report. The F-15 pilot, who was flying at an altitude of 500 ft (152 m), could not see the drone, the report added.
The board reported that the incident had prompted discussions about the probability of the service helping plan routes for the military through UK airspace should incorporate information from other sources.
Several such drone near-misses with aircraft have led to stricter and stringent rules being formulated for drone flying are set to come into effect between July 2018 and November 2019. Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said these regulations were necessary to “protect” aircraft and their passengers. Baroness Sugg stressed the government was keen not to stunt the growth of the drone sector which is estimated could add £42bn to the UK economy by 2030.
Baroness Sugg said that “there are challenges we must overcome” to prevent the nuisances posed by drones from outweighing their potential benefits that’s why we’ve already introduced safety measures like a height limit, and rules around airports, and today we are consulting on how we go further, including extra police powers and a minimum age requirement,” she added.
Other measures that are still up for debate include online safety tests and mandatory registration of devices weighing over 250g with the Civil Aviation Authority. The DfT is also exploring technologies that can protect public events, national infrastructure and prisons from unwanted drone disturbances.
Hence more ramifications have emerged, the latest in a series of proposals designed to crack down on snooping fears and near-collisions with manned aircraft, it is being proposed from the Department for Transport that Children are likely to be banned from owning drones weighing more than 250g (0.55lb) under a new proposal.
Devices heavier than that, if owned and registered by an adult would only be allowed to be flown by children. If approved, it could form part of a draft Drone Bill.
As of 30 July the UK government has already brought in legislation to ban drones from flying at heights above 400ft (122m) and within 1 km (0.6 miles) of airport boundaries. Pilots found flouting these rules face either up to five years in prison or unlimited fines.
Additionally proposals to give police the power to confiscate drones and issue on-the-spot fines to irresponsible pilots are being discussed. A consultation on the proposals is now underway, with the Bill due to be published later this year.
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