The day after a report on the future of the drone industry was released by accountants PWC, new regulations were announced to improve safety. Some will come into effect immediately, with others being introduced later. The question do I need a drone licence in the UK is still often asked, and the new regulations help to clarify this.
CAA approved drone pilot already operate to strict safety and privacy regulations, so it’s hobbyists who are likely to fee the impact of new drone laws in the UK. There is a lot of confusion around whether you need a drone licence in the UK, and the answer to this is still no. From November 2019 owners of drones weighing over 250 grams will have to register their aircraft. They will also have to take an online test to prove they understand UK drone laws and can fly safely.
Anyone planning to use a drone for business will have to obtain a so called ‘PfCO’ from the CAA. This stands for Permission to Fly Commercial Operations, and involves theory and practical tests and submission of a detailed operations manual. A CAA approved drone pilot is then able to carry out all kinds of drone work from aerial photography to drone roof inspections.
It’s possible to hire a drone pilot to carry out work on your behalf, so it’s not worth obtaining a PFCO unless you want to run a drone business or enter the industry as a career. Drone Safe Register’s instant drone quote facility gives you access to over 380 CAA approved pilots in the UK.
Most people in the drone industry welcome new regulations and greater enforcement. If the sector is to grow and create jobs as predicted, public safety must be a priority. As the sky above the UK becomes busier with drone traffic there needs to be systems and laws in place to limit the risk of accidents.