New legislation to extend the ‘no-fly’ zone around UK airports came into force on March 13. It is now illegal to fly a drone within 5km of an airport, with major penalties for those who break the law.
The government said it has acted to bring the law change in ahead of a new Drones Bill which it says will give police significantly increased powers to deal with those using drones illegally. Penalties for breaking the law on misusing drones range from fines to life imprisonment if the device is intentionally used to cause violence.
Drone users can only fly within the restriction zones if they have the correct permission from air traffic control or the airport.
On March 20, 2019, the UK’s Aviation Minister, Liz Sugg, is scheduled to meet drone manufacturers to discuss how to tackle criminal drone use. They are expected to discuss a range of topics including counter-drone technology and software – such as ‘geofencing’ – that could be built into drones at the point of manufacture.
The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “The UK has been consistently at the forefront of legislation to tackle drone misuse.
“All drone users should be aware that flying a drone within 5km of an airport or over 400ft is a serious criminal act, one which could put lives at risk and risks penalties ranging from significant fines to a life sentence.
“I urge people to report any suspicious drone activity to local police or Crimestoppers UK on 0800 555 111.
The Home Office is also reviewing the UK’s approach to countering the malicious use of drones, and will consider how best to protect the full range of the UK’s critical national infrastructure – including testing and evaluating technology to counter drones.