Banning drones from flying near airports or above 400 feet could form part of a new crackdown on the unmanned craft.
But airline pilots want to see action speeded up due to the threat of a “serious collision” following a rise of reported near misses between drones and aircraft
Police are to be given powers to prevent the unsafe or criminal use of drones as part of the new legislation.
The draft Drone Bill, which will be published next spring, will give officers the right to order operators to ground drones where necessary.
Police will also be able to seize drone parts to prove it has been used to commit an offence, according to the Department for Transport
It will become mandatory for drone owners to register their craft to improve accountability.
And drone operators will be required to use apps so they can access the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally.
Changes to the Air Navigation Order will mean that:
· drone users will have to sit safety awareness tests
· users of drones weighing 250 grams and over will in future have to be registered
The government is also working closely with drone manufacturers to use geo-fencing to prevent drones from entering restricted zones.
Aviation minister Baroness Sugg said: “Drones have great potential and we want to do everything possible to harness the benefits of this technology as it develops.
“But if we are to realise the full potential of this incredibly exciting technology, we have to take steps to stop illegal use of these devices and address safety and privacy concerns.
“These new laws strike a balance, to allow the vast majority of drone users to continue flying safely and responsibly, while also paving the way for drone technology to revolutionise businesses and public services.”
Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association, said: “I very much welcome the government’s firm commitments in this announcement.
“Balpa recognised the potential of drone technology long ago. But it soon became clear that without the right rules and regulations in place to enable them to share airspace safely, these devices could pose a huge threat to commercial aircraft.
“This is evidenced by the sharp rise in reported near misses with drones last year, up from 29 to 71.
“And we have exceeded that already this year with the UK Airprox Board already noting 81 reported near misses in 2017 so far.
“These proposals are a step towards the safe integration of drones, but until the new rules are in place the threat of a serious collision remains.
“It would be a tragedy if such an incident were to occur and lives were lost while we await these measures.
“That’s why Balpa continues to push for this programme of legislation to be adopted quickly; pilots would prefer to see it implemented in 2018 rather than at a later date.”
Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee said: “Enforcement will be vital for these new rules to be effective and any proposed extension of police powers needs to take into account resources to use those powers.
“The government should proceed with introducing mandatory geo-fencing technology as soon as possible. This would safeguard critical airspace around airports from accidental drone incursions.
“We believe this is the most effective way to ensure that unsafe drone use does not have major consequences.
“It is crucial drone users are aware of risks and regulations around drones so they can use their drones responsibly.”
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