Services Drone Law

Specialist lawyers for legal issues relating to the development and use of UAVs, UASs and Drones


Drone Law

According to a recent report the drone industry is worth circa $2 billion and increasing, expecting to grow to $127 billion by 2020. More and more businesses are using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drone technology to innovate and enhance commercial processes. This expansion, in part, will be due to the wide use for this sort of technology, for example:

  • Drones used for surveying and inspecting (construction, oil, land, solar farms, buildings, power lines, power plants, land and sea surveys)

  • Drones used for media and journalism (capturing footage, live broadcast, remoteness and conflict zones)

  • Drones used for emergency services (fire, rescue, policing, searching, tracking and aerial surveillance)

  • Drones used in agriculture (flooding warning, precision farming, crop dusting, fire detection)

The legal framework that governs the flying of drones in the UK requires the consideration of EU and International regulations. In most cases permission is required to fly drones near people and buildings. There are other legal issues such as data protection, privacy issues and liability in the event there is an error with the UAV whilst in flight.

Owners and operators of all UAVs and UASs in the UK and EU need to comply with various air regulations in force and there are strict laws that govern use in various circumstances, such as flight near congested areas, over congested areas, near people, over people, near buildings, over buildings. Use outside of the regulations can result in the operator and owner being liable for a full spectrum of offences, including trespass, nuisance, breach of privacy, breach of data protection. Breaches are both criminal and civil offences.

For further information in relation to the legal aspects of this industry, please contact Partner,
Riyaz Jariwalla on 01242 248626 or by email on riyaz.jariwalla@bpe.co.uk. Alternatively you could contact Equity Partner, Rob Bryan on 01242 248228 or by email on rob.bryan@bpe.co.uk