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No plans to follow UK on drone laws

News | Published:

PROPOSED laws to regulate drones in the UK are unlikely to be adopted in Jersey, the Island’s aviation authority has said.

New laws to control drone use in the UK have been proposed

Under the proposed legislation, UK police officers would have greater power to enforce regulations on how drones – small autonomous flying aircraft – are used, such as ordering an operator to ground it if it was thought necessary.

Tighter regulations would also apply to drone users, such as the compulsory registration of any drone weighing more than 250g and in certain cases, it would become mandatory for drone users to take safety awareness courses.

However, Gus Paterson, director of civil aviation, said that any future changes to aviation regulation in Jersey was more likely to fall in line with those of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) rather than the UK.

He said that this was largely because Jersey shares airspace with Europe and had historically followed EASA’s lead on aviation law as well as the fact that the current drone legislation in the Channel Islands, is ‘working very well’.

Mr Paterson also said that the Channel Islands were ‘not obligated to implement any aviation laws introduced in the UK’ adding that it was unlikely Jersey would adopt the proposed UK laws.

The newly proposed ‘drone legislation’ in the UK, followed a public consultation and has led to recommendations to address safety, security and privacy challenges around evolving drone technology.

The increased uses of drones in people’s day-to-day lives, and the increasing sophistication of the aircraft, has resulted in growing public concern and debate on their uses with many people expressing concerns about the potential threat to their safety and privacy.

Alan Donald, a spokesman for Ports of Jersey, comfirmed the organisation was prepared to work on ‘any required changes to local legislation.’

He added that current Jersey law prevents drones from flying higher than 400 ft (112m) or within two nautical miles of the Airport without the prior permission of air traffic control.

Mr Donald also said that anyone flying a drone for commercial reasons ‘must seek prior permission from the Director of Civil Aviation’.

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