Commercial drone operations already require permissions from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Operators must satisfy the CAA that they can operate safely and are aware of all relevant legislation. Last year the CAA granted approximately 1100 permissions for light-weight, low risk operations. There are charges for new permissions and processing renewals.
There are also existing regulations in place that require users of drones to maintain direct, unaided visual contact with their vehicle and to not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property. Guidance on tackling the risks of criminal drone use has been provided to constabularies across the UK.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is currently working with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to develop consistent, EU-wide safety rules for drones. We have also completed a series of public dialogues ahead of a public consultation which will help to inform a government strategy to be published this year. The consultation will look at a range of options including regulation, registration and licensing options, and the potential for restrictions on purchase and use.