From March 22nd 2021, the UK Civil Aviation Authority has announced a new campaign in conjunction with the Home Office and Police named Operation Foreverwing, that aims to tackle the rising presence of drone crime. By implementing harsher measures for those who step (or fly) beyond the legal limits that the majority abide by, it is hoped that this will tackle the various issues surrounding drone-related incidents, given that there were 336 such incidents during the last five months alone within the UK.
Since the CAA introduced the Drone and Model Aircraft Registration Education Scheme (DAMARES) responsible operators, both hobby and commercial alike, have registered their details with the CAA if their aircraft weighs more than 250 grams in co-operation of safe and legal practices.
Now numbering close to 200,000 registered operators in the UK, our skies are busier than ever, especially since the introduction of new laws that eliminates the controversial line between hobbyist and commercial pilots, and simply delegates drones to their relevant categories of Open, Specific and Certified.
With the drone industry expanding exponentially, measures taken to enforce drone laws can only increase its viability, like any growing technology. Regulation is key to help the industry thrive, even potentially from a commercial aspect, rewarding and even highlighting those who keep to the legal parameters as it informs those previously unaware as to the serious ramifications of unmanned aviation and its uses.
A statement from Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications of the CAA, said: “Our objective is not to stop people having fun or using their drone for business, it’s to make sure that everyone can share the air safely and that means sticking to the rules outlined in the Drone Code. Drones can cost thousands of pounds, and with fines for breaking the rules, the costs can quickly add up for those failing to comply.”
Adding to this, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for counter Drones, Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi, said, “The use of drones has increased dramatically in recent years and as a result of that we are seeing instances of dangerous and irresponsible flying. If you are a drone owner it is your responsibility to make sure you are following the rules for your own safety and that of others around you.”
With all this in mind, it’s important to remember that the drone industry is one of a ‘just’ or ‘no blame’ culture. Mistakes and accidents will still invariably happen on rare occasion but if careful consideration has been made to their flights, operators should still feel protected in admitting when things have gone wrong. Enforcing the laws and regulations that so many have abided by is a great step in a positive direction.
For more information on UK drone regulations, registration and the Drone Code please visit www.caa.co.uk/drones