Drone Regulations in the UK – What You Need to Know

drone regulations

Drone Regulations in the UK – What You Need to Know

Have you just bought or are looking to buy your first drone? If so, it’s important to remember that while drones are fantastic to use, there are still drone regulations and laws that need to be followed to operate them safely in public spaces.

Whether you’ve bought your drone purely for recreational fun flying or perhaps to enhance your business operations, there are different drone regulations for all circumstances.

Here is everything you need to know…

What exactly are drones?

Drones are quite simply remotely piloted aircraft by a person on the ground. Once upon a time, they were solely used by the military when it was deemed too dangerous to send a manned aircraft on various operations.

With drones becoming more and more popular for not only recreational uses but also commercially, drone regulations are now in place to increase public safety.

Are they legal to fly and what are the rules?

It is legal to fly a drone in the UK, but to do so there are certain rules and regulations that you must follow. The drone regulations affect recreational and commercial users, so no one is exempt.

When flying a drone for recreational use in the UK, there are several rules to adhere to:

  • Your drone must weigh under 20 kilograms, you cannot fly above 400 feet in altitude or 500 metres away from you horizontally, you must ensure your drone is always in sight and must always keep away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields.
  • If your drone is fitted with a camera, you must still adhere to all the regulations listed above, but there are additional regulations you must follow.
  • When flying with a camera, you can’t fly within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or vessels, your drone must not be flown within 150 metres of a congested area or any large group of people such as a concert or sporting event as you may be prosecuted and If you intend to record in an area where people are, you must inform them before you start.

drone regulations

Source: Drone Code, July 2018

Can you fly drones commercially?

Have you ever thought about flying a drone as a means to earn money?

Well in short, yes, you can. But you must have permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) first, with what’s known as a Permission of Commercial Operations (PfCO).

And how do you get this? Through Uplift Drones of course.

In order to provide you with the best training possible, we run two full PfCO courses – as enthusiastically mentioned earlier – the Advanced PfCO and the Fast Track PfCO.

Both courses on offer provides you with two days of classroom-based theory training, or Ground School, while the Advanced version also adds a day of practical Flight Training with our expert instructors.

* Date for the Diary *

As the drone industry continues to grow and go from strength to strength, UK law also continues to update and change regularly, so it’s a good idea to constantly check the drone regulations.

On 30 July 2018, the UK drone regulations will change to make it against the law to fly above 400ft (120m) and to make it against the law to fly your drone within 1km of an airport or airfield boundary.

Specific restrictions apply in these cases and are detailed in CAP 1687, which can be found here: http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP1687-SUAANOAmendmentOrder-3.pdf

You can see a new version of the Dronecode, that will come into effect on that date, below.


For more information about operating a drone for recreational or commercial use in the UK, contact our experts on 0330 111 8800 today!

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