‘Get drones out of our airspace’
EX-MET CHIEF SAYS PROHIBITION IS THE ONLY WAY TO AVERT DISASTER AT AIRPORTS
A FORMER Metropolitan Police commissioner says drones should be barred from entering controlled airspace around major airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick.
Independent crossbencher Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington told the House of Lords on Tues- - day (February 28) there was an answer to the problem of near-misses with commercial aircraft at the major airports.
During question time, he said nobody could go into controlled airspace withoutut authority and added: “Surely rely a quick answer is to prohibit any drones in that area.”
Lord Stevens, who is president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association UK and holds a pilot’s licence, said he had flown himself “safely down” to London earlier that day. Transport minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said the Civil Aviation Authority had a “specific regime” around the commercial operation of drones. As peers pushed for greater controls on drones, he added:”We are looking at those particular regulations to see how they may be extended.” Last year, Virendra Sharma, the MP for EalingEal and Southall, called on the home secretary AmberAm Rudd to help improveim the safety of the devicesd to prevent near missesm and potential risk to lives. According to the UK AirproxAir Board, there were 70 nearn misses involving drones across the country in 2016, up from just 29 in 2015. The government is currently undertaking a consultation exercise on drone regulation and Lord Ahmad said crossgovernment work had achieved progress in a number of areas. These included trials to explore options for detecting and countering drones and an expanded campaign to raise awareness of safety rules.
Tory Lord Naseby said the threat of terrorism and the misuse of drones had “heightened” over the past year and called for strict laws that consumers could understand.
Independent crossbencher Lord Hylton called for “total exclusion zones” for drones around flight paths at major airports to prevent a collision.
Lord Ahmad said the government was looking at the issues of geofencing around critical sites such as airports.
“There were 70 reported incidents in 2016 and those are 70 too many,” he said.