Drone users face £1,000 fine if they don't register their device

27 November 2019, 06:57

Drones which weigh more than 250g will need to be registered
Drones which weigh more than 250g will need to be registered. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Unsuspecting drone owners are facing a £1,000 fine for failing to register their device, the CAA has warned.

Anyone who owns a drone that weighs more than 250g must register and pay £9 to continue using it, drone pilots will also have to pass an online test featuring 20 questions.

The new rules come into force on Saturday with the Civil Aviation Authority estimating fewer than half of those who own one fo the devices have registered since the scheme opened earlier this month.

Users who fail to register or sit the competency test could face fines of up to £1,000.

The new rules are being introduced as part of a crackdown on drone misuse after Gatwick airport shut down last December due to sightings of unknown drones near the airfield.

1,000 flights were cancelled or diverted in the run-up to Christmas and more than 140,000 were impacted.

A number of other airports have been forced to suspend flights for several hours due to drone activity this year, including Heathrow.

The move could also help tackle the use of drones to bring drugs, weapons, phones and other contraband into jails.

UK Airprox Board figures show there were 125 near-misses between drones and aircraft reported in 2018, up by more than a third from 93 the previous year.

In March, the drone no-fly zone around airports was extended from 1km (0.6 miles) to 5km (3.1 miles).

CAA assistant director of communications Jonathan Nicholson said: "UK drone laws are changing and it's vital that drone users - whether they fly regularly or not - are aware of how the drone registration scheme will affect them.

"Registration becomes law from the 30th November. If you are caught flying a drone from then, and unable to present proof of registration, you could be hit with a £1,000 fine.

"The online registration system has been designed to be as intuitive and accessible as possible, meaning those that need to register online can do so easily by the deadline."

Drone users must visit register-drones.caa.co.uk to sign up to the scheme.

It is hoped the registration system will help reunite people with their lost drones as they will be linked to a unique ID which must be displayed on devices.