The UK government has proposed that anyone wanting to use a drone in the UK skies may need to register their flying objects and take a safety test to ensure they’re fully aware of the rules of the sky.
Additionally, anyone who flies a drone in a no-fly zone may have to pay a hefty fine and could even end up with a criminal record.
The crackdown is in response to the increasing number of safety alerts caused by drones in the last 12 months, the government explained.
Jonathan Nicholson, from the Civil Aviation Authority told the BBC. “We do see a rise in the number of near misses reported by airline pilots, and we have had complaints from members of the public about drones being flown too close to them, which the police receive.”
However the plans have received a frosty reception from both drone users and groups supporting drone use in the UK.
“It will impact the safe and sensible drone fliers and will not affect criminals or terrorists,”the FPV group for drone pilots’ Simon Dale said. “Setting up a drone equivalent of the DVLA is likely to be costly.”
Although the majority of drone users are adhering to guidance from the government, the Aviation Minister said “some [drone users] are not aware of the rules or choose to break them putting public safety, privacy and security at risk.”
The government does understand the economic impact of permitting drones to fly around the country and also the value emergency services, conservation groups and other companies get from automated flying objects, but it says something needs to be done before there’s a catastrophic incident.