As mentioned above, UK drone laws have been subject to regular changes and, though it isn’t yet clear when the new legislation will come into force, plenty more changes could be made in the near future.
It was only as recently as 30 July 2018, that the government made it illegal to fly a drone above 400ft or within 1km of airport boundaries. While the former remains in place, the latter has already been deemed insufficient.
Anyone who flouts that 400ft rule could be charged with “recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft”, and face a fine of up to £2500 or up to five years in prison.
So what steps might the government take next?
It says it still “supports a minimum operator age [of 18], but will defer a decision until there is clarification and confirmation from EASA regarding future legislation at the European level with regards minimum ages for drone operators and remote pilots.”
It’s also possible that drone users will one day be required to use a FINS − which would likely take the form of an app − to notify authorities and other drone users that they’re going to fly a UAV at a particular location at a given time ahead of time. Users may also have to pay for FINS access.
“The aim of this proposed policy is to increase drone user accountability, to ensure a flight can be made safely, without compromising the security or privacy of others. The real-time data and records made by a FINS could also be useful for enforcement,” last year’s public consultation explained.
The DfT says that drone operators will also eventually have to use apps that ensure they always have access to safety guidance, though it isn’t yet clear how it plans to enforce this rule.