Ed Cracknell critically analyses the legal problems surrounding drones.
No longer solely the preserve of hobbyists, uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, now have a number of real-world practical applications. UAVs are commonly used for property inspections in place of more expensive or riskier solutions, and the emergency services use them for search and rescue missions and to deliver medical supplies. But while UAVs can provide real benefits, the law needs to adapt to recognise rights of land owners and users who might be adversely affected.
The current law
Drone operations are categorised into three risk levels: the open, specific, and certified categories. The open category, the lowest in terms of risk and by far the most common, is those under 25kg, which must be opera...