In the run-up to Christmas, Gatwick Airport experienced hundreds of cancelled flights and major disruption following illegal drone use. It’s predicted that over 140,000 passengers had their travel plans disrupted as a result of drones on site. Then, once again, earlier in January, Heathrow experienced a similar event, bringing flights to a halt for over an hour.
Now, the government is giving police new powers to tackle illegal drone use. From November, it will be a legal requirement for drone operators and enthusiasts to register their devices and for police to land drones and demand the necessary documentation for the owners. The new law may also enable the police to issue a fine when owners fail to comply.
It is already against the law to fly a drone within 1km of an airport or above 400 feet, but the new legislation, which comes after 5,000 responses to a public consultation, will give police additional power around searching premises and seizing drones, including all the electronic data stored on the device – particularly when a serious offence takes place like at Gatwick and Heathrow.