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Drones - the law in the UK

on Mon, 20/01/2020 - 3:20pm

Drones (aircraft remotely controlled by a person on the ground) are legal, but there are rules and regulations that you must adhere to in order to ensure you are on the right side of the law. 

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has guidance on using drones for both private and commercial use, see <here>.

What are the rules for flying drones in the UK?

  • All drones weighing more than 250g (ie anything but the smallest toys), must be registered with the CAA, labelled with a unique licence number and the drone pilot must complete a safety test; see 'Drone Registration' below.
  • Drones must not weigh more than 20kg
  • You must not fly above 400 feet in altitude or 500 metres from you horizontally
  • You must always keep your drone in sight
  • Always keep away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields
  • Use your common sense and fly your aircraft safely & considerately

If your drone has a camera:-

  • You must not fly within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or vessels
  • Your drone must not be flown within 150 metres of a congested area or any large group of people such as a concert or sporting event as you may be prosecuted.
  • If you intend to record in an area where people are, you must inform them before you start.
  • If you intend to use the drone for commercial purposes you must have permission from the CAA and comply with additional laws governing their use, see <here>.

Drone registration

If want to fly a drone or model aircraft over 250g, you must be registered with the CAA. 

  • Anyone who wishes to fly a drone must pass a theory test to get a flyer ID
  • The person that is responsible for the drone or model aircraft must register to get an operator ID

See the CAA’s website for the latest information and regulations regarding drone use, see <here>.


If you're concerned about the actions of a drone, you can call the Police on the 101 non-emergency number.

This page based on CAA & Police pages <here> & <here>.