The new package of regulations has been in discussion and development for nearly 4 years, with the UK having had significant input and the aim is to standardise UAS regulations across Europe, encouraging and promoting growth within this industry and making it easier for operators to work in multiple countries with fewer barriers..
UK drone regulations have seen many updates and changes in recent years and it is therefore understandable that some may feel this new approach could lead to confusion and misunderstanding. Our aim here is to pick out the key themes in order to let you navigate the regulations and understand how they apply to your operations.
The new set of regulations were published on 1 July 2019 and two key documents:
Commission Delegated Regulations (EU) 2019/945 – Unmanned aircraft systems and on third country operators of UAVs
Commission Implementing Regulations (EU) 2019/947 – the procedures and rules of operation of unmanned aircraft
The Delegated Regulation became immediately applicable and relates to the standards and practices used by aircraft manufacturers and their systems and therefore does not significantly affect individual operators.
The Implementing Rule does not become applicable until 12 months after coming into force (i.e. 1 July 2020) in order to give national regulators the time to incorporate the ruleset into their existing publications and make any necessary changes to the law. This is key document that sets out the future rules for UAS operations.
In the case of the UK, the CAA is now busy making these preparations and when considered in the context of other planned changes, such as Registration and recreational competence testing, the timeline looks broadly like this:
These regulations look at more than just aviation law and safety. Privacy, data protection and security are all addressed. All these elements have been taken into consideration due to the unique challenges the drone industry has.
One of the other biggest changes is the way ‘safety’ has been divided between air risks and ground risks. Making a clear definition between collisions with other aircraft – manned or unmanned - and collision with persons or critical infrastructure.