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Last week saw a number of important developments in the UK drone world.

Flying High Challenge

Firstly, Monday 23rd July, was the launch event for the findings of Phase 1 of NESTA’s Flying High Challenge, looking at drone use in Cities.

Drones on Demand have been proud to work alongside Bradford City Council and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service as the Technical Consultants on the Bradford Team. Other members of the team were University of Bradford, University of Leeds and UAV Hive.

We worked on a case study where drone technology was utilised to provide more rapid ‘eyes on’ to a fire, identify false alarms and provide augmented data to fire appliances and firefighters on the ground.

The main findings of the report are that:

  1. Drones bring benefits to UK cities: they are worth promoting
  2. Public confidence is key
  3. There are technical and regulatory challenges to scaling the number of drone operations
  4. There is need for a coordinated vision for the future between government, industry and regulators
  5. The UK stands to benefit – but is falling behind other countries such as the US and Singapore in developing regulation and creating testbeds

You can read the full report (or an Executive Summary) here.  You will also find an interactive map of the UK drone industry.

Drone Bill Consultation

On Thursday 26th July, The Department for Transport published a paper and opened a consultation into “Drone legislation: use, restrictions and enforcement”. We’d urge you to read the paper and then respond to the consultation, whether you operate a drone or not.

Changes to Legislation

Today, Monday 30th July, changes to the Air Navigation Order came into effect that impact on anyone operating a drone. The main changes are:

  • You must not fly a drone at a height higher than 400 feet (120 metres) above the ground unless you have an exemption or special permission
  • You must not operate a drone within 1KM of an airfield unless you have permission

The Civil Aviation Authority have released a revised version of the Drone Code