Extension of ‘no-fly zones’ around airports after drone disruption

20 Feb 2019 by Jenni Reid

The UK’s Department for Transport says new legislation will come into force next month that will extend ‘no-fly’ zones around airports, after drone sightings caused huge disruption at Gatwick in December.

Drones and model aircraft will not be able to fly within 5km of runways from March 13. The previous limit was 1km.

Meanwhile police will be given new anti-drone misuse stop and search powers and be allowed to access electronic data stored on drones.

Flights in and out of Gatwick were grounded for almost two days during the busy Christmas period, affecting more than 120,000 passengers. Departures at Heathrow were also temporarily stopped in January after a reported sighting.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was criticised for shelving plans to introduce laws regulating drone use in Britain.

In a statement last month, Grayling said: “We can pass new laws until the cows come home, but that does not stop people breaking them, and the law is as tough as is necessary to punish the perpetrators of an attack such as this.”

The DfT also today announced a partnership with Jessops to raise awareness of responsible drone use and said it would provide airports with a digital toolkit to help them raise awareness of the new rules.

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