COMMONS

MPs set to investigate the risks of drones

07 March 2019

The Science and Technology Committee launches an inquiry to look at the ethical and safety implications of the growing use of civilian drones, of all sizes, across the UK.

Drones: positives and negatives

Drones have had a range of positive impacts across a variety of industries, from commercial photography and aerial surveying, through to crop spraying and parcel delivery. However, following increased recreational popularity, there have been several suspected drone incidents, including dozens of ‘near misses’ between drones and aircrafts.

Following two previous consultations on drone safety and security and incursions at Gatwick and Heathrow airports the Government is planning to bring forward a ‘Drones Bill’ in 2019.

Send in your views

The Committee is seeking written submissions on:

  • The ethical implications of civilian drones on citizen privacy and safety in the UK;
  • The effectiveness of built-in drone safety features, such as tracking and monitoring capabilities, in mitigating the risks of civilian drones;
  • The effectiveness of anti-drone technology in mitigating the risks of civilian drones;
  • The economic opportunities arising from the growth of drone technology;
  • The success, or otherwise, of regulatory frameworks for civilian drones and what should be covered in the forthcoming ‘Drones Bill’;
  • The plans for registration of civilian drones in the UK;
  • The current state of drone safety education and research in the UK; and
  • International comparators with exemplary drone-interference prevention policies. 

Send in your views to the Science and Technology Committee inquiry on Commercial and recreational drone use in the UK.

The deadline for written submissions is 12 April 2019.

Chair's comments

Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, said:

"Increased drone usage represents a significant technological development and offers a range of opportunities across a variety of UK industries.

"However, increased usage with a lack of effective regulation also brings an unspecified amount of potential risks to both national security and public safety.

"We have seen highly publicised ‘near misses’ together with the suspected drone interference at Gatwick airport, and to a lesser extent Heathrow. This led to hundreds of flights being cancelled and affected thousands of passengers.

"The number of recreational drones appears to be on the rise. We must act now to ensure that there is effective regulation before there is any further expansion. Now is the time for us to influence Government thinking in light of recent incidents and the upcoming Drones Bill."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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