DSR and Baroness Sugg
Baroness Sugg was appointment as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport on 27 October 2017.
Under her stewardship, this year, drone law has changed to introduce the height ceiling of 400 ft on all drone flights and flight restrictions on within 1km from airports.
All of this was in response to an increase in numbers of near misses reported between drones and aircraft and a growing public concern for air passenger safety.
DSR obviously recognise the enormous potential that the drone industry has to the UK economy through commercial deployment and also in creating a new and exciting leisure industry. Each DSR Pro member, as a qualified and insured pilot, is an ambassador for the ‘Drone Cause’ and take their responsibility very seriously.
One of our members, Vic Kirby from All Drone Services Ltd, reached out to the minister to express his concerns over illegal operators and impress upon her how registered drone operators work and the benefits that they can offer to the wider community and UK economy.
The reply from the Department of Transport and the Baroness makes interesting reading. In opening paragraph, she states her support for this newly emerging market sector and the opportunity it affords through the use of new technology.
On the subject of illegal drone operators, she shares that the Police have formed a special drones working group to share best practice when it comes to enforcing the law, with results already being seen with law breaches being successfully prosecuted.
Collaboration with both the CAA and industry stakeholders is seen as key to promoting a campaign of education regarding the current rules and making safety breaches due to ignorance of the law a much less common occurrence.
There is also the possibility of liaison with the CAA in order to create some industry guidance to be given to councils and other local authorities and organisations – many of whom have wildly differing policies on drone use. This may no only be curbing business opportunities for commercial operators but also mean that the authorities are missing cost-saving opportunities in this era of increasingly stretched budgets. One DSR member alone saved a local council £4.5 million through the use of drones instead of traditional methods for property inspections.
The end of the Baroness’ response makes heartening reading for drone pilots working in a sometimes unforgiving landscape…
‘I fully support your position that the UK should embrace the opportunity to lead innovation in this new industry. The Government’s goal is to lead the world in the use of commercial drones. Analysis by PwC’s UK Drones team estimates that there could be 76,00 drones flying in UK skies by 2030, with over a third of those in use by the public sector. With cost savings resulting from the uptake of drone technology expected to reach £16bn, the report predicts a net impact of £42bn in the UK economy. We are working hard to ensure that addressing key challenges such as safety and security support the future of the industry rather than inhibit it.’