Cranfield Airport Drone No Fly Zone extended Photo by Kaleb Kendall on Unsplash

Major penalties for those who break the law

New legislation to extend the ‘no-fly’ zone around airports comes into force today (13 March 2019). It is now illegal to fly a drone within 5km of an airport, with major penalties for those who break the law.

The government has acted to bring the law change in ahead of a new Drones Bill. This bill is expected to give police significantly increased powers to deal with those using drones illegally.

Penalties for breaking the law on misusing drones range from fines to life imprisonment if the device is intentionally used to cause violence.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

“All drone users should be aware that flying a drone within 5km of an airport or over 400ft is a serious criminal act, one which could put lives at risk and risks penalties ranging from significant fines to a life sentence.

“I urge people to report any suspicious drone activity to local police or Crimestoppers UK on 0800 555 111.”

On 20 March 2019, the Aviation Minister Liz Sugg will meet with global leading drone manufacturers to discuss how to tackle criminal drone use.

Topics expected to be discussed include counter-drone technology and software ( ‘geofencing’) that could be built into drones at the point of manufacture.

Aviation Minister Liz Sugg, said:

“Flying drones illegally puts others at risk both in the air and on the ground, so it’s vital they are used safely.

“The majority of people using drones want to do so responsibly, so we have expanded a national campaign to ensure they know the rules – and the penalties.”

The Dronecode, the Civil Aviation Authority’s code of conduct, sets out existing rules for drone users, including staying below 122m (400ft) and flying at least 50m (164ft) away from buildings and people.

Drone users can only fly within the restriction zones if they have the correct permission from air traffic control or the airport.

Cranfield Airport was approached for a comment.