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New drone laws – bigger restriction zones for airfields

Generic drone image

Flying a drone or other unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near an airport or airfield will be a criminal offence next month when new legislation comes into force extending the restricted areas.

From the 13 March the flight restriction zone around airports and airfields changes and under new rules the current 1km restriction from the airfield boundary is replaced by a restriction using the airfield’s existing aerodrome traffic zone.

This means that every airfield will have a no-fly zone for drones extending in a radius of either two or two and a half nautical miles. In addition, runways have a five kilometre by one-kilometre zone starting from the ‘threshold’ at the end of each of the airfield’s runways.

Both of the zones extend 2000ft vertically.

The new regulations make it illegal to operate a drone or UAV of any kind in those zones without the express permission of Air Traffic Control or the Airfield operator.

Anyone breaching the restriction could face fines of up to £2500 or up to 5 years in prison if they endanger the safety of aircraft.

You can find out more about where and when you can legally operate a drone by reading the Drone Code.

See your local airfields zone

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