Lord West of Spithead – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Transport

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord West of Spithead on 2016-03-02.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the risks posed to the UK by terrorists using drones, and the recent comments by the British Airline Pilots Association and others regarding the risks posed by drones, what consideration they have given to (1) the introduction of a system of mandatory drone registration in the UK, (2) the introduction of mandatory geo-fencing by all drone manufacturers, and (3) the possible banning of private ownership of drones exceeding a certain payload capacity.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

The Department for Transport (DfT) is currently working with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to develop consistent, EU-wide safety rules for drones.

The Department and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) work with a wide range of industry partners across the aviation sector, (including manufacturers, airports, and airlines), to ensure our understanding of potential hazards to aircraft remains up-to-date and mitigations effective.

This collaboration is also considering the need for other potential drone policies, such as geo-fencing. There are a number of drone models already sold in the UK with types of this technology installed and we are assessing the potential for solutions that could restrict drone operations around airports and other key infrastructure.

We are also in contact with other governments about the potential costs and benefits of registration systems, and, in particular, whether this improves the transparency of ownership.

The Cross Government Working Group has undertaken analysis of the use of drones for criminal purposes, including the potential use of drones for terrorist purposes, and the impacts of their negligent use near sensitive locations, such as airports. This work is kept under review and is being used to inform research and testing to improve mitigation techniques and strategies.

Guidance on tackling the risks of criminal drone use has been provided to constabularies across the UK.

Education of drone users is vital. The DfT is working with the CAA on raising awareness of responsible drone use. This includes the CAA’s ‘Drone Code’ safety awareness campaign and the issuing of safety leaflets at the point of sale.