New Drone Regulation Coming in 2024

Drone Law Change
January 26, 2024

Although the beginning of 2024 does not bring with it any immediate changes from the UK Drone Laws already in place for drone users throughout 2023, there are changes on the horizon in 2024.

The use of airspace in the UK, and related policy, is determined by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) a public body with the responsibility for the regulation of aviation safety in the UK.

Changes Needed With Drone Industry Growth

As the popularity of drones in both the recreation and commercial sectors sees ever greater growth, the CAA is continually required to review and update policies in order to keep up to date with an ever-changing and quickly evolving environment.

Following a previous public consultation with the drone community, alongside discussions with the Police, Home Office, and Department for Transport, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has released a number of proposed changes to maintain the safety and security of drone operations, while encouraging this expansion of the industry.

What are the Proposed Drone Law Changes?

The CAA proposals cover a wide range of areas, aimed not solely at drone users themselves but also at manufacturers through product assessment, standards, and class markings.

Some of the proposed changes include:

Simplification of current legislation and reduction of complexity of language to enable to clearer understanding of the requirements for drone operators to carry out their flights lawfully and safely. As the CAA is used to creating legislation aimed at the aviation community, who are well-versed in Acronyms and complex aviation language, it is important that regulations aimed at casual drone users are easy to understand and therefore follow. The Drone Code did this well, though this is being expanded into more clear definitions in the Open category and reducing the chance of terms being open to individual interpretation.

Increasing Education for Drone Operators by requiring all operators to take the Flyer ID test even if the drone is under 250g as well as an improvement in the guidance material and it’s visibility.

Improving drone safety and security requiring manufacturers to meet specific safety standards through class-marking categorisation. This has already been implemented in the EU, however the UK class marking is unlikely to fall under the exact same lines but presumably will presumably look very similar.

Enabling a Safe and Secure Airspace by the use of electronic conspicuity such as Remote ID which transmits the drones position to other aircraft in the area in the same way as general aviation. This allows drones to be remotely identified and monitored while in use helping reduce mid-air collisions.

Supporting the drone sector by creating an implementation timetable of new regulations and drone classification which allows for a supported transition to new ways of operating without making all current hardware obsolete. This includes working with manufacturers to find ways to support their transition to new standards and class marking regimes.

We will be watching closely to see what happens next in 2024 following the consultation period and will keep you updated as any changes are made.

Note: For drone operators carrying out operations in the Specific and Certified Categories, there will be additional changes later in the year as the new Operational Authorisation system allows for digital applications and the CAA move towards the introduction of SORA methodology for risk planning and mitigation but we will look further into this as they approach.