UK Drone Registration Laws Coming Soon

The government of the United Kingdom announced this Saturday that new regulations are in the works for registering privately owned drones.

TechCrunch reports that these new regulations will require anyone who owns a drone over 250 grams in weight to register it with the government, as well as enroll in drone safety courses to help drone owners better understand the proper usage and safety of their drones. The aim of these laws is to “improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly” according to the government.

At this moment, there are no concrete measures decided on how these laws will be enforced or when they will take effect. Methods for registration are still being discussed, though there will likely be an online registration venue.

The decision to carry out this registration was spurred by public opinion as published in a consultation last year. UK citizens are becoming increasingly concerned with the safety of privately owned drones, as they can pose a serious risk to public safety if used irresponsibly. Many stories have already come to light about drones nearly colliding with aircrafts, as well as others being used to smuggle contraband into prisons.

In addition to these regulations, the government hopes to enact no-fly zones around sensitive areas like prisons and airports through the use of geo-fencing technology, building onto what some manufacturers have already programmed into their drones, hoping to prevent accidents or crimes.

Aviation minister Lord Martin Callanan had this to say with regards to the regulations: “…like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones, introducing safety awareness tests to educate users we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.”

Certain drone manufacturers like the company DJI have supported the regulations, with the vice president of policy and legal affairs Brendan Schulman commenting, “DJI has invested heavily in adding safety features, and we expect the government to work closely with industry leaders to ensure progress and promote technological innovation. We are encouraged by the fair and thoughtful approach the government has taken to date. The key will be maintaining this balance in the next round of deliberation.”

In the United States, a similar drone registration plan was struck down by a Federal Appeals Court in May, though a similar fate does not seem to be in the making for the UK regulations based on initial public reaction to the news.