Ministers consider placing restrictions on drones

Regulations around drone use could be tightened following a number of near misses with aircraft.

The UK Airprox (aircraft proximity) Board said that seven near misses had occurred in the 12 months to July and is investigating four other incidents close to Heathrow, London City and Birmingham airports.

Ministers are also considering introducing a new system that will track the flight paths of drones as a further preventative measure.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said that the devices posed “safety and security issues that need to be addressed”.

He said the Government is in early discussions with ‘international partners’ about a drone traffic management system.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, the UK's aviation regulator, said: "It is vital that people observe the rules when operating a drone.

"Users must understand that when putting a device into the air they are interacting with one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world, a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft, including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders, light aircraft and now drones."

Under current regulations, drone users can be prosecuted under the Air Navigation Order 2009 if the devices are flown beyond their line of sight, which is measured as 500 metres horizontally and 120 metres vertically.

The rules also state that an unmanned aircraft must be flown at least 50 metres away from a person, vehicle, building or structure and not be flown within 150 metres of a congested area or large group of people, such as a sporting event or concert.

Earlier this month a man was fined £1,800 for flying drones over Premier League football stadiums, the Houses of Parliament and near Buckingham Palace.

The case signified the first time someone has been prosecuted for using drones following a police-led operation

Nigel Wilson, 42, from Nottingham, used the drones to shoot videos which he uploaded onto his YouTube channel.

In August, China announced that it will place export restrictions on drone and supercomputer technology to help protect its national security.

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