UK Drone Laws

UK Drone Laws

Where To Fly A Drone

There was a time when the use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was reserved to the military. However, they are now in use in a wide variety of industries, such as aerial surveillance, delivery of medical supplements to inaccessible or remote regions, search and rescue operations, and surveillance of crops. The use of drones by civilians has also been growing, considering how cheap and considerably sophisticated consumer-grade UAVs have become. However, despite their resemblance to remote-control helicopters, they are not to be regarded as mere toys.

If you own a drone and wish to fly it In the United Kingdom, you should keep in mind that there are rules governing the use of these aircrafts. In the UK, “small unmanned aircraft” refers to drones that weigh 20 kilograms or less, and the UK drone laws and requirements in this case are slightly less stringent.

Laws For Flying Drones In The United Kingdom

When operating a drone or small UAV, make sure that your aerial vehicle or aircraft does not endanger anyone or anything. You must keep your aircraft within your visual line of sight, which means that it should be no more than 400 feet above you and 500 meters ahead of you. You will have to get approval by the CAA if you want to operate a drone beyond these distances, in which case you will have to prove that you can fly the drone safely.

Drone For Surveillance

If you want to use a drone for surveillance purposes, more stringent restrictions will be applicable. You will also have to be wary of maintaining the required distance between your drone and people and/or properties. You will have to ask for the CAA’s permission if you wish to fly a drone within the minimal distance requirements. You are also responsible for satisfying yourself that you can fly the drone safely.

Urban Areas

If you wish to fly a drone in any congested area or an open-air assembly where there are 1,000 persons or more, make sure your drone is beyond 150 metres of the area. If you wish to fly a drone in an area where there will be vessels, vehicles or structures that are not under your control, then make sure you maintain a distance of at least 50 metres between your drone and those properties. You should also maintain a distance of 50 metres between your drone and other people when flying it.

Drones and Data Protection

Keep in mind that the Data Protection Act will be applicable if you wish to fly a drone with a surveillance camera mounted on it and you end up collecting images of individuals who can be identified from them, even if it was unintentional. Requirements regarding how such images should be collected, stored and used can be found in this Act, so make sure you read it and comply with any such applicable exemptions or requirements if you decide to fly a drone.


There are actually a myriad of considerations that you must take heed of when flying a drone in the United Kingdom. There is the aviation law, the confidentiality and harassment law, the data protection law, the privacy law, and then there are also the requirements mentioned above, which must be met.

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