UK CAA calls for input to proposed changes to UAS regulations

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued a call for input to proposed changes UK regulations to make it easier for drone users to fly safely. The proposals include introduction of product requirements for drones, extension of Flyer ID training to users of drones under 250g, introduction of Remote ID and extension of time period to adopt new drones by two years.

Between August and September 2023, the CAA ran a call-for-input (CFI) to help shape the design of this formal consultation on the future of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Regulations within the UK. The UK received 2,629 responses to the CFI and these responses have informed the CAA’s formal consultation on the review of UAS Regulations. This will run until the 10th of January 2024.

The proposed changes have been published in consultation by the regulator that will allow the continued expansion of drone flying, while also increasing the safety and security of drone operations.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s proposals cover a range of areas, including proposed changes to drones themselves to be implemented by manufacturers.

They are based on initial feedback from the drone community following an earlier call for input on many of the same subjects, as well as input from the Department for Transport, Home Office and Police.

Among the changes proposed are:

  • Simplifying regulations by reducing complexity in operational requirements in the ‘Open’ category, renaming operational sub-categories to ‘over’, ‘near’ and ‘far’, and removing confusing exemptions for ‘toy’ drones
  • Increasing education and understanding of regulations, by requiring flyers of drones under 250g to take the free online Flyer ID test, increasing the guidance and information digitally provided to users via their drone controllers and displays, and improving our guidance material
  • Improving drone safety and security by implementing product standards for drones through a system of class-marking
  • Enabling safe and secure airspace through the introduction of Remote ID, geo-awareness and geo-fencing functionality for certain categories of drones
  • Supporting the drone sector by giving more time for UAS operators to adopt class-marked drones and implementing more flexible product assessment procedures for manufacturers

The consultation demonstrates the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s commitment to assisting all drone users to fly safely and responsibly and to enable the drone sector to continue to grow.

The consultation is open for eight weeks and will close on 10 January 2024.

Kevin Woolsey, co-head of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We want to make sure that the use of drones continues to safely expand and that regardless of whether people are flying for fun or commercially they understand the rules and regulations. These proposals will help make the UK’s drone regulations fit for today and for the future. We want them to be clear and accessible for users while making sure they deliver the levels of safety and security required. We’ve listened to the drone community and believe what we are proposing will make it easier for drone users to understand the requirements and fly safely.  We’re now keen to hear from everyone involved via the consultation.”

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