Drones and the Law in the UK- What You Need to Know


Drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also referred to as Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (RPAs) are increasingly becoming popular in the United Kingdom. The UK has a system of air navigation laws in place that those who intend to use the drones should follow. The regulations aim at ensuring the safety of individuals around the drones.


The aircraft must be kept within a visual line of sight, that is 400 ft vertically and 500m horizontally from the remote pilot. You will need approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to fly beyond this distance by proving that you can do it safely.

Seek for permission from the CAA if you need to fly UAVs for surveillance purposes. In this case, there are tighter restrictions in regard to the minimum distance the drones can fly. This covers properties not under the control of the drone operator.

Obtain permission from the CAA if you want to conduct the flights for commercial aerial work.

It is the responsibility of the “remote pilot” to ensure the safe operation of a drone

Camera-equipped drones must not fly over 150 meters of an area with more than 1,000 people or any congested area.

The aircraft should not fly 50 meters of any structure, vehicle or vessel which is not under the control of the drone operator. Additionally, it should not fly 50 meters of any person during takeoff and landing. It can only fly 30 meters only for the person operating the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

Unmanned Aerial vehicles weighing between 20-150kg ought to abide by the Air Navigation Order. The operators also need to obtain a certificate of airworthiness, licensed flight crew and a permit to fly.

If the aircraft weighs more than 20kg there is need for the operators to obtain an insurance. The insurance shall get to cover liability in case of any accident.


There are several requirement to take into consideration if you intend to fly a drone in the United Kingdom. The requirements include the aviation law, data protection law, privacy law, confidentiality and harassment law among other requirements. Since the technology is relatively new, it will not be surprising to see the rules evolving.



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Archmedes is a Features Editor at PC Fuse, where he tests and reviews desktops, laptops, monitors, HDTVs, printers and much more. Besides articles and reviews, he also provides news coverage for all hardware and software related tech news for techguy.