Rogue drone users to face new laws

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

DRONE users will be re­quired to reg­is­ter and sit safety aware­ness tests as part of a Gov­ern­ment clam­p­down on rogue op­er­a­tors.

Po­lice will be given greater pow­ers to pre­vent un­safe or crim­i­nal use of the ma­chines, while new tech­nol­ogy could be used to cre­ate no-fly zones for drones.

How­ever, along­side new laws, min­is­ters are also keen to de­velop tech­nol­ogy al­low­ing the greater use of drones for tasks in­clud­ing de­liv­er­ies of ev­ery­thing from shop­ping to human or­gans.

Avi­a­tion Min­is­ter Baroness Sugg said: “Drones have great po­ten­tial and we want to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to harness the ben­e­fits of this tech­nol­ogy as it de­vel­ops.

“But if we are to re­alise the full po­ten­tial of this in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing tech­nol­ogy, we have to take steps to stop il­le­gal use of th­ese de­vices and ad­dress safety and pri­vacy con­cerns.

“Th­ese new laws strike a bal­ance, to al­low the vast ma­jor­ity of drone users to con­tinue fly­ing safely and responsibly, while also pav­ing the way for drone tech­nol­ogy to rev­o­lu­tionise busi­nesses and pub­lic ser­vices.”

The draft Drone Bill, which will be pub­lished in spring 2018, will give po­lice of­fi­cers the right to or­der op­er­a­tors to ground drones and seize parts of a ma­chine to prove whether it has been used to com­mit an of­fence.

Ban­ning drones from fly­ing near air­ports or above 400 feet could also be in­cluded.

Last month it emerged a drone nearly hit an air­craft ap­proach­ing Lon­don Gatwick, with the jet’s pi­lot claim­ing it put 130 lives at risk.

The fly­ing gad­get passed di­rectly over the right wing of the Air­bus A319, which was pre­par­ing to land at the West Sus­sex air­port in July, ac­cord­ing to the UK Air­prox Board (UKAB).

Under the new pro­pos­als drone op­er­a­tors will be re­quired to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally.

Changes to the Air Nav­i­ga­tion Or­der will be used to in­tro­duce the safety test and the reg­is­tra­tion re­quire­ment for own­ers of drones weigh­ing more than 250 grams.

Mean­while an ini­tia­tive is be­ing launched to­mor­row which will see up to five cities given sup­port to re­search and de­velop drone tech­nolo­gies.

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