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New rules to see drones registered and users take safety tests



Drones will have to be registered and users will have to sit safety awareness tests under new rules to better regulate their growing use, the government announced.

The technology is playing an increasing role within the construction industry as they are used to survey projects, collect information and accurately track a site’s progress.

Owners of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) weighing 250 grams and over will in future have to register details of their drones to improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly.

Users may be able to register online or through apps, under plans being explored by the government. The move follows safety research that concluded drones could damage the windscreens of helicopters.

In addition, a new safety awareness test means owners will have to prove that they understand UK safety, security and privacy regulations.

The government also plans to bring forward and expand the use of ‘geo-fencing’ in the UK that acts like an invisible shield around buildings or sensitive areas. The technology, which works on GPS coordinates, is built into the drone and stops it from entering zones such as prison or airport space.

Aviation Minister Lord Callanan said: “The UK is at the forefront of an exciting and fast growing drones market and it is important we make the most of this emerging global sector.

“Our measures prioritise protecting the public while maximising the full potential of drones. Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives.

“But like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones, introducing safety awareness tests to educate users we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.”

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