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The U.K. Is Clamping Down on Drones

November 28, 2017

Once a relatively permissive space for unmanned aircraft, the U.K. is set to make it harder for civilian drones to get airborne. Its government will publish a new bill next year that will give law enforcers greater powers to regulate drones and their pilots by making it easer for officials to demand that aircraft be grounded.

The proposed rules will also require anyone flying a drone that weighs 250 grams or more to register the aircraft with the government. All pilots will have to use apps to plan routes and maneuver their vehicles, and some will be required to take safety awareness tests before they fly. Stricter limits will be placed on where drones can fly, with flights banned near airports or above 400 feet. All told, those changes won’t be as limiting as current American rules, but they will make it harder for many drone users in the U.K. to fly.

It’s a strange twist of events for drone regulation. Just over a year ago, Amazon was forced to set up its experimental drone operations in the U.K. because American regulations made it impossible to do so in the U.S. While the new British bill is unlikely to cause too many headaches for projects like that, it does come shortly after a move by the Trump administration to encourage drone innovation in America.

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