How is about the drone flights in UK ?

Joined
Aug 7, 2016
Messages
1,527
Reaction score
934
I am planning a trip to GB within next few months. As I'm going to take the drone, I would like to know if in the UK something differs from other countries in EU?
I would like to film some interesting castles, gardens and cliffs.

Thanks!
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Messages
1,047
Reaction score
434
I am planning a trip to GB within next few months. As I'm going to take the drone, I would like to know if in the UK something differs from other countries in EU?
I would like to film some interesting castles, gardens and cliffs.

Thanks!
Here's a link to the UK dronecode. http://dronesafe.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Dronecode.pdf Follow that and you should be OK.

Be aware though that many seemingly 'public' places such as beaches may have local laws (called bye-laws) which may prohibit flying completely. The same applies to many buildings such as castles which are of national historical interest. Many of these are owned by an organisation called the National Trust. Here's a link to their rules. Flying drones at our places

You may be able to find additional information about flying in the UK by using the search engine here (magnifying glass, top right) with keywords such as 'UK rules regulations' etc etc...

Here's some more information about No Fly Zones (NFZs) AirMap Web App
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2016
Messages
1,527
Reaction score
934
The general restrictions for drone flying are well known and are the same as everywhere. But that AirMap you put makes me worry about.
There are brown, and yellow circles with understandable restrictions. What are those big rectangle shaped blue areas? Does this territory applies to aircrafts or either to drones flying around some tree or rock 30 m high? If so, the drones are forbidden almost everywhere in England. At least at southwest area.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Messages
1,047
Reaction score
434
There are a lot of military bases and smaller airports in the south west and it's a region which is often used for low-flight practice by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. Advice here for all of Devon and Cornwall from the Cornish Drone Facebook page. Security Check Required

"If you are going to be flying a drone anywhere in Devon or Cornwall could you please phone the RNAS Culdrose (HMS Seahawk) Operations room on 01326 552415 (or 01326 552000 if out of office hours) and let them know where you'll be.
This is purely for air safety so they can inform their aircraft & squadrons. The Royal Navy have helicopters and fixed wing aircraft flying all over Devon and Cornwall, often at very low altitudes so they would very much appreciate a phone call in the interests of keeping the skies safe for everyone who uses them. Thanks."

How many drone operators actually do that before flying, I just don't know.
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2016
Messages
1,527
Reaction score
934
I think very few indeed, but such measure makes sense.
Although if you fly only a few m over the highest obstacle nearby, it is hardly to believe that the aircrafts fly so low.
Thank you again.
 

PhantomWetSuits

Approved Vendor
Joined
Jun 3, 2017
Messages
1,317
Reaction score
831
Age
58
I am planning a trip to GB within next few months. As I'm going to take the drone, I would like to know if in the UK something differs from other countries in EU?
I would like to film some interesting castles, gardens and cliffs.

Thanks!
Your biggest threat is the Rain, It is a constant threat and highly recommend you get the Phantomrain Wet Suit for your travels , phantomrain.org
mockup.gif
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
7,842
Reaction score
3,111
Location
Australia
Here's a link to the UK dronecode. http://dronesafe.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Dronecode.pdf Follow that and you should be OK.

Be aware though that many seemingly 'public' places such as beaches may have local laws (called bye-laws) which may prohibit flying completely. The same applies to many buildings such as castles which are of national historical interest. Many of these are owned by an organisation called the National Trust. Here's a link to their rules. Flying drones at our places

You may be able to find additional information about flying in the UK by using the search engine here (magnifying glass, top right) with keywords such as 'UK rules regulations' etc etc...

Here's some more information about No Fly Zones (NFZs) AirMap Web App
They are actually by-law’s however having read the spiel they perhaps should be bye laws (as in good bye). Don’t they seem like a stuffy mob! We have similar restrictions in Australia, I have even been asked to refrain from taking photo’s with an SLR in public places around Sydney harbour unless I could demonstrated I have paid for a permit.
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
Messages
3,591
Reaction score
1,540
Age
42
Here in central London its a bit risky. I flew around Greenwich across the Thames and it was class D I think (this was in July last year) but obviously flying near the London eye, buckingham palace, etc... Big no no. Unfortunately even a massive open park like Hyde park, my mate got a warning for flying the mavic ( and this place is huge) depending where abouts in England you head you can get some great places. Launching of white cliffs of dover is great and no problems. But flying near the ferries at dover got me a telling off. As far as I know your pretty safe on an open public field
 
  • Like
Reactions: hotashes
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Messages
1,047
Reaction score
434
They are actually by-law’s however having read the spiel they perhaps should be bye laws (as in good bye). Don’t they seem like a stuffy mob! We have similar restrictions in Australia, I have even been asked to refrain from taking photo’s with an SLR in public places around Sydney harbour unless I could demonstrated I have paid for a permit.
Both spellings are acceptable, but in the country from which English originated the spelling is as I wrote 'bye-laws'. But yes, thanks for pointing out that I foolishly forgot my apostrophied plural..:):)

Doesn't really matter what they are called or how they are spelled/spelt - but in the UK they have local 'rools' and they also have lots of local jobsworth employees who try to apply them in order to cause problems for people. @Andy9 - please just be aware....
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
7,842
Reaction score
3,111
Location
Australia
Both spellings are acceptable, but in the country from which English originated the spelling is as I wrote 'bye-laws'. But yes, thanks for pointing out that I foolishly forgot my apostrophied plural..:):)

Doesn't really matter what they are called or how they are spelled/spelt - but in the UK they have local 'rools' and they also have lots of local jobsworth employees who try to apply them in order to cause problems for people. @Andy9 - please just be aware....
Byelaw is an alternative spelling of Bylaw (original English) and from Scandinavian origin (as you might know the Scandinavian’s and speakers of Germanic languages were the greatest influencers of early English).

I wasn’t taking the piss- read my posts, full of grammatical and other errors. If you read the link you shared it’s the fuddy duddies from the society that had it wrong originally.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2017
Messages
514
Reaction score
312
Location
UK/South Africa
There are plenty of people in the UK who have strong negative views about drones. There are also plenty of rigid officials who will enforce the law if you're breaking it - sometimes to such a ridiculous degree that you wonder if they've ever heard of "common sense". (It's easier for officials to "get a result" with members of the public who are technically breaking the law, rather than going after professional criminals who know how to resist prosecution.) To any visitor coming to the UK I would urge caution. We are nowadays a country often hell-bent on sticking to the letter of the law, although not the worst in the world.
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2016
Messages
1,527
Reaction score
934
OK, I've got it. I think the most safe places to avoid prosecution are natural environments with no buildings in sight.
What's about lighthouses which interest me a lot.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2017
Messages
514
Reaction score
312
Location
UK/South Africa
There are many beautiful natural areas of Scotland, well away from people. Also, in the far north of England, there's The Lake District - especially the Northern Lakes around Keswick. (And accommodation is cheaper in the north compared to the south.)

I'm ignorant of lighthouses - apart from Beachy Head near Eastbourne which requires permission to take of/land along the cliff edges, so again "beware".
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
Messages
3,591
Reaction score
1,540
Age
42
Light houses are fine. If you get the chance go to folkstone, beautiful place, miles of scenery to film. I even launched of the white cliffs of dover and got some great shots. Accidentally went into the clouds as I launched from the cliffs boosting my "ground height"

 
  • Like
Reactions: gunner370
Joined
Aug 7, 2016
Messages
1,527
Reaction score
934
There are many beautiful natural areas of Scotland, well away from people. Also, in the far north of England, there's The Lake District - especially the Northern Lakes around Keswick. (And accommodation is cheaper in the north compared to the south.)

But I'm going to Cornwall not to Scotland. Thanks anyway.
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
154
Reaction score
72
Age
43
There are plenty of people in the UK who have strong negative views about drones. There are also plenty of rigid officials who will enforce the law if you're breaking it - sometimes to such a ridiculous degree that you wonder if they've ever heard of "common sense". (It's easier for officials to "get a result" with members of the public who are technically breaking the law, rather than going after professional criminals who know how to resist prosecution.) To any visitor coming to the UK I would urge caution. We are nowadays a country often hell-bent on sticking to the letter of the law, although not the worst in the world.

As a British expat I couldn’t agree more.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
603
Reaction score
242
Age
65
Location
UK
Here in central London its a bit risky. I flew around Greenwich across the Thames and it was class D I think (this was in July last year) but obviously flying near the London eye, buckingham palace, etc... Big no no. Unfortunately even a massive open park like Hyde park, my mate got a warning for flying the mavic ( and this place is huge) depending where abouts in England you head you can get some great places. Launching of white cliffs of dover is great and no problems. But flying near the ferries at dover got me a telling off. As far as I know your pretty safe on an open public field


nearly all of this info is wrong :(

Flying over the Thames is OK as long as you have permission from the landowner to take off. a lot of the land adjacent to the river is owned/managed by the Port of London Authority - they don't allow take off/landing without permission (expensive/almost impossible) to attain so look for public land (see below)

All London parks (with the exception of a dedicated area in Richmond Park) are strict no-fly zones - expect the park Police on your case very quickly

As someone else has said. The National Trust and English heritage have strict 'no drone' policies. Take off and landing restrictions really can't be argued with as they own/manage the land so if they say 'no' then sadly it is no. They make a dubious claim to the airspace as well. This is harder for them to justify but they will often claim it's to protect the habitat of rare birds/species etc and it's probably enforceable in law. However, if you are going to fly at these locations do it early in the morning or late in the evening and it's unlikely that you'll get any hassle. If they do call the police be prepared for a long 'discussion' many forces are taking the easy route and threatening prosecution under section 241 of the Air Navigation Order '241. A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.' This is a catch all for them because the burden of proof is passed back to the operator to prove they weren't doing any of those things. It's like being booked for obstruction. As for the white cliffs of Dover - they are owned/managed by the National Trust - unless you are flying from a boat then you shouldn't be there. the castle is owned by English Heritage so the same rules apply.

The National Trust publish a map of all the land they own - it's a lot more than you'd expect

A lot of the Cornwall is privately owned - ask in local pubs the night before, there are many very helpful farmers

Most beaches (below the high tide line) are fine to fly from

Follow the history of our places with Land Map

As for flying in 'public open fields' - again, you need permission of the landowner. Many councils will have by-laws dating back decades banning the use of powered model aircraft on their parks and open spaces - check first as again, we can refer back to section 241 - if you haven't taken the time to study local rules you have (in the eyes of the law) been negligent and you'll struggle to prove otherwise.

Having said all that, most places you want to fly will have a nearby public footpath and as long as you have free access to it (no climbing gates and fences) you should be OK.

Most police forces have better things to do than chase drones and their users all day so it's unlikely you'll get hassled as long as you stick to the UK's 'Drone Code' which is a simplification of the Air Navigation Order just like the Highway code is a simplification of the Road Traffic Act - even though it's called a code it's still the law

For hobby fliers (with camera equipped drones) this means (current rules are likely to change during summer 2018)

The law..
Maintain a minimum separation distance of 30m during take off and landing
Maintain a minimum separation distance of 50m when flying near people or structures you don't have under your control - think of it as a 'bubble'
Maintain a minimum separation distance of 150m from congested areas and outdoor gatherings of over 1000 people - do not overfly these areas
Fly within VLOS

More info here

An introduction to unmanned aircraft systems | UK Civil Aviation Authority

Have fun, Cornwall is a beautiful county even if the locals are a bit weird :)
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2017
Messages
25
Reaction score
7
Location
UK
As someone else has said. The National Trust and English heritage have strict 'no drone' policies. Take off and landing restrictions really can't be argued with as they own/manage the land so if they say 'no' then sadly it is no. They make a dubious claim to the airspace as well. This is harder for them to justify but they will often claim it's to protect the habitat of rare birds/species etc and it's probably enforceable in law.
The National Trust is relying on fear and kidology to try and sustain their unlawful policy which amounts to a blanket ban on aerial activity over their land, recited here as 'All aerial activity above our sites is prohibited unless specific permission is granted, according to an existing byelaw.', and here as 'The use of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) or drones as they are more commonly known, is not permitted on or over National Trust land as part of our byelaws.'

The National trust's byelaws are here. The only byelaws which might be relevant are these:
  • 9(a) which prohibits molesting and disturbing living creatures
  • 11(a)(iii) which prohibits riding or driving 'any conveyance over or upon Trust Property otherwise than upon roads, tracks and waterways authorised for the use of such conveyance.' - the wording makes it clear that the draftsman contemplated "conveyances" being grounded, not in the air, notwithstanding the note which states: “conveyance” includes any air.... vehicle'. In other words the idea was to prevent aircraft from taking off or landing on Trust property, not over-flying (which I deal with below)
  • 11(b) - 'No person shall ride or drive any conveyance to the danger or annoyance of or without due consideration for other persons resorting to Trust Property' - there would have to be real (not imagined) danger or annoyance for an action under this byelaw to succeed
  • 17 prohibits photography for hire or reward, but so does the ANO for unqualified pilots
  • 24. No person shall on Trust Property wilfully obstruct, disturb, interrupt or annoy any other person in the proper use and enjoyment of such property - see my comment on 11(b) above
I would say that if it came to a real fight and you are (1) taking off from land which is not owned by the National Trust, and (2) complying with both the ANO and the CAA code, and (3) not causing direct harm to wildlife they haven't got a leg to stand on because compliance with those rules is going to make it very hard to prove (and they do have to prove) that you are infringing byelaws 11(b) and 24. And even if they succeed the penalty is £20! And you only have to pay that if they prosecute and achieve a summary conviction. See byelaw 26.

I really do not see how the National Trust byelaws could possibly overcome the principals which I described in a previous post where I said:-
Owners of properties which are not excluded by the ANO cannot prevent you over-flying their properties provided you are at a reasonable height and you do not make such frequent over-flights that you could be guilty of harassment. Here are some excerpts from a legal briefing note prepared by the Country Land and Business Association Limited: 'However, for non-commercial drone pilots that do not respond to a polite request the answer for now seems to be that aside from a potentially costly action for an infringement of your privacy or trying to convince the police that the flights amount to a criminal harassment there is little you can do to prevent them.... Section s76(1) Civil Aviation Act 1982 prevents claims being brought in trespass or nuisance against aircraft, provided they are flying at a reasonable height and comply with the Air Navigation Order.... Landowners in England and Wales are not entitled to all the airspace above their land, the position is well summed up by Griffiths J in Bernstein of Leigh v Skyviews & General Limited [1978] 1QB 479.'

I have printed several copies of the CLA briefing note and I carry them with me ready to hand out if anyone accosts me. I would have no hesitation in using this defence against a charge that I had over-flown National Trust land. You can download it here: https://www.cla.org.uk/sites/default/files/GN10-17 Drones and Private Property 2017.pdf

Of course if you are taking off from National Trust land then, yes, they can tell you not to. But if you pack up and go home I really don't see what practical remedy they would have. My advice would be to record any confrontation on your phone, and tell the person who is confronting you that this is what you are doing as evidence for your defence.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Messages
1,047
Reaction score
434
The National Trust is relying on fear and kidology to try and sustain their unlawful policy which amounts to a blanket ban on aerial activity over their land, recited here as 'All aerial activity above our sites is prohibited unless specific permission is granted, according to an existing byelaw.', and here as 'The use of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) or drones as they are more commonly known, is not permitted on or over National Trust land as part of our byelaws.'

The National trust's byelaws are here. The only byelaws which might be relevant are these:
  • 9(a) which prohibits molesting and disturbing living creatures
  • 11(a)(iii) which prohibits riding or driving 'any conveyance over or upon Trust Property otherwise than upon roads, tracks and waterways authorised for the use of such conveyance.' - the wording makes it clear that the draftsman contemplated "conveyances" being grounded, not in the air, notwithstanding the note which states: “conveyance” includes any air.... vehicle'. In other words the idea was to prevent aircraft from taking off or landing on Trust property, not over-flying (which I deal with below)
  • 11(b) - 'No person shall ride or drive any conveyance to the danger or annoyance of or without due consideration for other persons resorting to Trust Property' - there would have to be real (not imagined) danger or annoyance for an action under this byelaw to succeed
  • 17 prohibits photography for hire or reward, but so does the ANO for unqualified pilots
  • 24. No person shall on Trust Property wilfully obstruct, disturb, interrupt or annoy any other person in the proper use and enjoyment of such property - see my comment on 11(b) above
I would say that if it came to a real fight and you are (1) taking off from land which is not owned by the National Trust, and (2) complying with both the ANO and the CAA code, and (3) not causing direct harm to wildlife they haven't got a leg to stand on because compliance with those rules is going to make it very hard to prove (and they do have to prove) that you are infringing byelaws 11(b) and 24. And even if they succeed the penalty is £20! And you only have to pay that if they prosecute and achieve a summary conviction. See byelaw 26.

I really do not see how the National Trust byelaws could possibly overcome the principals which I described in a previous post where I said:-
Owners of properties which are not excluded by the ANO cannot prevent you over-flying their properties provided you are at a reasonable height and you do not make such frequent over-flights that you could be guilty of harassment. Here are some excerpts from a legal briefing note prepared by the Country Land and Business Association Limited: 'However, for non-commercial drone pilots that do not respond to a polite request the answer for now seems to be that aside from a potentially costly action for an infringement of your privacy or trying to convince the police that the flights amount to a criminal harassment there is little you can do to prevent them.... Section s76(1) Civil Aviation Act 1982 prevents claims being brought in trespass or nuisance against aircraft, provided they are flying at a reasonable height and comply with the Air Navigation Order.... Landowners in England and Wales are not entitled to all the airspace above their land, the position is well summed up by Griffiths J in Bernstein of Leigh v Skyviews & General Limited [1978] 1QB 479.'

I have printed several copies of the CLA briefing note and I carry them with me ready to hand out if anyone accosts me. I would have no hesitation in using this defence against a charge that I had over-flown National Trust land. You can download it here: https://www.cla.org.uk/sites/default/files/GN10-17 Drones and Private Property 2017.pdf

Of course if you are taking off from National Trust land then, yes, they can tell you not to. But if you pack up and go home I really don't see what practical remedy they would have. My advice would be to record any confrontation on your phone, and tell the person who is confronting you that this is what you are doing as evidence for your defence.
All very good and valid advice - but let's not forget the OP will be a tourist visitor to the UK and not a 'local' and, I am sure, the last thing that he would wish to get involved in during his holiday would be any kind of verbal conflict nor, (Heaven forbid!) any sort of legal case.

That being the situation, I feel that his best approach is to follow the UK drone code, be mindful of any local laws that may exist and be as polite as possible (as I am sure he would be, anyway) to anyone who may approach him for whatever reason.

Being Cornish born and bred myself, although I haven't lived there for many years, I also thoroughly recommend studying some sort of online course to help him understand the Cornish accent and to spend his entire holiday eating nothing but Cornish pasties...

They'm a praper jab! :)
 

Recent Posts

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
142,357
Messages
1,461,844
Members
104,162
Latest member
Boufou