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Drones to be banned from extended zones around UK airports

UK drone exclusion zones around runways and airports are to be extended by the government as part of tougher legislation to counter illegal use of remotely controlled drones

Drones to be banned from extended zones around UK airports

UK drone exclusion zones around runways and airports are to be extended by the government as part of tougher legislation to counter illegal use of remotely controlled drones

23 January 2019 - 19:00

UK drone exclusion zones around runways and airports are to be extended by the government as part of tougher legislation to counter illegal use of remotely controlled drones.

The move follows flights at London-Gatwick airport being severely disrupted for two days in December 2018 due to a criminal invasion of airspace by drones around the runway and airport buildings.



The government will introduce additional 5km long by 1km width exclusion zones from runway ends, alongside an increase to the airport restriction out to the current Aerodrome Traffic Zone around airports (approximately a 5km radius circle).



Drone pilots wishing to fly within these zones must only do so with permission from the aerodrome Air Traffic Control, reports London's Air Cargo News.



The proposed measures were announced as the UK government published its response to a consultation document, Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK, which received replies from more than 5,000 respondents.



Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg, said in the foreword to the document: 'Whilst increasing the restriction zone would not prevent a deliberate incident, it is important that proportionate measures are in place to help protect all arriving and departing aircraft using our aerodromes and avoid potential conflict with legitimate drone activity.'



She explained that the recent disruption to Gatwick airport operations, affecting tens of thousands of passengers in the run up to Christmas, was a stark example of why continued action is required to make sure drones are used safely and securely in the UK.



'We have been working with the Civil Aviation Authority (C) which has been running its long standing 'Dronesafe' campaign and 'Dronecode' guide to help to raise awareness amongst the general public of these rules and regulations. Commercial users of drones are able to operate drones outside of these rules - but only once granted C permission to do so on the basis of meeting strict safety conditions,' Baroness Sugg added.



The UK government is also working with manufacturers to introduce new technologies, including geo-fencing, where a drone can be automatically prevented from flying within protected areas through in-built software, and 'electronic conspicuity', which will allow the automatic identification of all airspace users, including drones.


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