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New user - Drone laws / rules in UK

the_goon

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Hi all

I am looking at buying my first drone (Mavic Pro) and was doing some research into where I can and cannot fly it in the UK. I fully understand the general rules about max height, L.o.S, airports, crowds etc, but what is confusing me is local council rules.

For example, I am looking at going to North Devon, and thought it would be good to take a drone. However, according to the North Devon website, you need permission to fly a drone from council land...


I assume beaches are council owned?

I also see that North Somerset is very similar.

How does anyone find anywhere to fly in the UK if all the councils are so strict?

Cheers
 
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Lastrexking

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Hi. Welcome to the forum.

Firstly - I would recommend not buying a drone at the moment. The rules in the EU and UK are changing in July, and all of the current drones will be classed as 'legacy' craft. Whilst the impact won't be immediate - come 2022 the distances you can fly 'legacy' drones to people out of your influence and to buildings will increase even further. At some point this year DJI are likely to release new drones that comply with the new rules. I was about to buy a new Mavic, but I've decided to hold off and keep what I have for now.

There's a thread here with further info Clarification of new rules in July for UK

Also, see this web page for more guidance on legacy drones and what will and won't work: Heliguy - Drone Experts - Supply, Support, Training and More

In answer to your question... not all beaches are council owned. Some are Crown property. That said, there are other reasons you can't fly on them (Sight of Scientific Interest for example). But, that doesn't mean you can't fly over them, just that you can't take off from them. The council don't regulate the airspace, just the ground. As long as you find somewhere to take off and land they don't own, then you're ok. You'll find most farmers don't give a fig if you take off and fly from their land as long as you're not interfering with their work.

It is becoming harder to find places to fly, and I'm not saying you should break the law - but, the Police have better things to do than chase you down.
 
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the_goon

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Thanks for the reply Lastrexking!

That's all very useful info, albeit quite confusing. As I read it, if I got a Mavic pro now, then in 2022 it can only be flown in the A3 category (far away from people).

I like the idea of the A2 category, but will need to attend a one day course for >£300. But, even with these new qualifications etc, you're still going to be bound by local council by-laws.

Blimey! I had no idea what I was getting myself into by buying a drone. As you advise, I think I'll hold off for a while to see what DJI come up with (although it'll probably be out of my price range for a few years).

Thanks again!
 
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THE CYBORG

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Got to agree with you on this one Lastrexking “You'll find most farmers don't give a fig if you take off and fly from their land as long as you're not interfering with their work. “

I was flying from a farmers field & was approached by the farmer, at first I thought he was going to chase me off his land but he was very interested in the drone, he had me flying up a fell looking for his sheep, ended up with him going to buy one.
 

Gobuchul

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How does anyone find anywhere to fly in the UK if all the councils are so strict?
A lot of councils have come out with drone "policies". A lot are completely unenforceable and of pretty dubious regarding legality.

Personally I go by the information from the Drone Assist app and use a bit of common sense. I regularly fly from National trust land, they also have a blanket ban on drone flying but I do it when there is almost no one about and have consideration of anyone in the area.

Always follow Wheaton's Law and you will be generally OK.
 

Lastrexking

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Thanks for the reply Lastrexking!

That's all very useful info, albeit quite confusing. As I read it, if I got a Mavic pro now, then in 2022 it can only be flown in the A3 category (far away from people).

I like the idea of the A2 category, but will need to attend a one day course for >£300. But, even with these new qualifications etc, you're still going to be bound by local council by-laws.

Blimey! I had no idea what I was getting myself into by buying a drone. As you advise, I think I'll hold off for a while to see what DJI come up with (although it'll probably be out of my price range for a few years).

Thanks again!
Obviously, depending on your financial situation.....

It might be worth getting something like a second hand Spark. Great little drone, and good to start with. You can pick the, up relatively cheap.

As for the council bylaws - they’re not practical from an enforcement point of view. They can only stop you taking off and landing from their land. If you stand in a farmers field and take off from there and fly over the beach, there’s no issue.
 
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Classic flyer

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Got to agree with you on this one Lastrexking “You'll find most farmers don't give a fig if you take off and fly from their land as long as you're not interfering with their work. “

I was flying from a farmers field & was approached by the farmer, at first I thought he was going to chase me off his land but he was very interested in the drone, he had me flying up a fell looking for his sheep, ended up with him going to buy one.
We need people to be more like that farmer...did you find his sheep...be safe fly smart
 

old man mavic

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welcome to the forum at the moment to fly legally in the uk the most important things are operator ID and flyer ID which are obtained from the CAA website and following the drone code
i would at this time wait to see what actually happens in July this year with regards to drone flying rules, i know that we are supposed to be adopting the new EU rules but a lot can happen before then, personally i am just going to carry on flying my drones till the law of the land tells me otherwise ,just want to add that what you have been told is correct its down to you how you respond to the information
 
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the_goon

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Thanks for all the replies. Really appreciate it!

After much reading about the new rules coming in, I think I will wait until July before making any decision. I don't want to buy an expensive drone now, only to find its use restricted in 2 years time, and having to buy a different one. I will hang around the forum though, just in case things change or if there's any further updates. Plus, it full of great info! Thumbswayup

I've waited quite a while to get a drone. A few more months won't hurt!
 

old man mavic

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Thanks for all the replies. Really appreciate it!

After much reading about the new rules coming in, I think I will wait until July before making any decision. I don't want to buy an expensive drone now, only to find its use restricted in 2 years time, and having to buy a different one. I will hang around the forum though, just in case things change or if there's any further updates. Plus, it full of great info! Thumbswayup

I've waited quite a while to get a drone. A few more months won't hurt!
i think you have made a good decision,it is a large investment and with all the proposed changes in the pipeline now,drone purchase is somewhat of a lottery
 

THE CYBORG

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We need people to be more like that farmer...did you find his sheep...be safe fly smart
Yes I did fly over some sheep.
What the farmer wanted was the ability to check things out without climbing a fell.
A walker once reported a dead sheep to him, pointing the general place to him so he climbed all the way up only to come across a large white bag that must have blown there and got stuck on a gorse bush.
He told me investing in a drone would save him time & effort but I think that was an excuse to have some fun as much as work.
 
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Yes I did fly over some sheep.
What the farmer wanted was the ability to check things out without climbing a fell.
A walker once reported a dead sheep to him, pointing the general place to him so he climbed all the way up only to come across a large white bag that must have blown there and got stuck on a gorse bush.
He told me investing in a drone would save him time & effort but I think that was an excuse to have some fun as much as work.
Awsome ambassadorship sir, things like this really help improve the image of drones and their pilots in the public eye, thanx...be smart fly safe
 
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old man mavic

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i fly over sheep all the time ,where i live in Wales it's almost impossible not to fly over them at some point during the flight
they are everywhere and when i am at 150 to 200 ft up, they don't even look up at the drone its the same with cattle and horses
that's the good thing about the MPP it is very quiet