LibLink: Jenny Randerson: The drone market is a bit like the Wild West. It needs some rules to make it safe

Lib Dem Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson has written for Politics Home about the need for regulation of drones for safety reasons.

So why are they a problem? Apart from the obvious terrorism and defence related issues, there are some more ordinary dangers:

In 2016 the police dealt with 3,456 incidents involving drones; that was 12 times the number of incidents logged in 2014, so the problems – like drone ownership – are growing rapidly.

Possibly the greatest risk is to aircraft. Drones can smash the windscreen or break the rotor blades in the case of helicopters, which would bring the aircraft down. Research by Balpa, the pilots’ association, in conjunction with the government, has amply demonstrated this vulnerability to a drone simply being flown inexpertly or by someone foolishly taking a risk, rather than deliberately setting out to do harm.

So what can be done to mitigate the risks from drones? Jenny argues for many different measures:

There are a host of actions the government needs to take seriously. A good start would be compulsory registration of drones and compulsory training for all users.

Mandatory geo-fencing around airports would seem to be obvious to avoid genuine accidents as well as deliberate terrorist attacks.

Currently air traffic controllers cannot “see” drones and instead rely on pilots physically catching sight of them as they whizz past, so we need investment in the best new technology to help air traffic control. Obviously there are resource issues for police and the CAA as well.

You can read the whole article here.

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