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UK Announces New Laws on Drone Safety

The UK government has announced new provisional laws for drone operators, coming into force at the end of July, establishing new limitations to how they can use their aircraft— a maximum of 121 metres in height— and forbidding drones from being flown within one kilometre of an airport. Another rule requires that owners of drones weighing over 250 grams register their device with  the Civil Aviation Authority and  take an online safety test.

The regulation is aimed at improving safety, coming after repeated reports of incidents (none of them fatal) involving drones colliding with airliners. In 2017, according too government figures, there were 93 such incidents, compared to 71 in 2016.

The move will simply bake into law the existing rules, as per the non-binding Drone Code released in 2016. The change means that offenders will now face a penalty of up to five years in prison, or an unlimited fine (or both.)

In a statement, aviation minister Baroness Sugg commented on the news, saying: “We are seeing fast growth in the numbers of drones being used, both commercially and for fun. Whilst we want this industry to innovate and grow, we need to protect planes, helicopters and their passengers from the increasing numbers of drones in our skies. These new laws will help ensure drones are used safely and responsibly.”

Image via bit.ly/2Hc09dh

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