U.K. Announces New Regulations for Drone Owners

The UK government announced on Saturday that nearly all drones will now have to be registered.

 The government announced that all drones that weigh more than 25 grams, which is a little more than a half a pound, will need to be registered with the Department of Transport.

Moreover, drone owners will now have to pass a “safety awareness test” – a test that will require drone owners to demonstrate that they under U.K. regulations regarding privacy and security.

This news comes after a report by aviation authorities detailing drones as small as 400 grams can damage helicopter windshields. 

In a statement, Aviation Minister Lord Martin Callahan said “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.”

Callanan added, in an interview with the BBC, the new rules should not be seen as a regulation to stop “people from having fun.” But, it is important to point out that earlier this year, two drones were reported to have flown close enough to an Airbus A320 jet approaching Heathrow Airport. The drones flew so close it was considered a severe collision risk.

Dr. Alan McKenna told BBC News, “Registration has its place. I would argue it will focus the mind of the flyer—but I don’t think you can say it’s going to be a magic solution.”

There is no word on when the new rules will be in force. So it remains up in the air how long drone owners in the U.K. will have the liberty to fly drones without their name on a government list.

In comparison to UK laws, the United States does not require anyone to register non-commercial drones after a May 2017 court ruling, which invalidated the Federal Aviation Administration’s drone regulations. In fact, the FAA even started refunding the $5 registration fee drone owners were required to pay at the beginning of the US regulation.

But, it begs the question how UK laws will impact businesses who see drone flying as a business methodology for logistical transportation. Take Amazon, for example; the company announced late last year their first delivery via a drone, which coincidentally also took place in the U.K. That said, Amazon highlights that safety is their biggest priority. The company has reportedly developed “sense and avoid” technology. If successful, Amazon also plans on delivering packages in 30 minutes or less with drones.