Monday 27 January 2020 12:01 am

Police to get more anti-drone powers in fresh crackdown

The government is planning a fresh crackdown on drones, after a number of near misses in the sky.

Ministers hope to give police new powers to land, inspect and seize drones under a bill which has its second reading in Parliament today.

Drone pilots could also face on-the-spot fines for failing to prove they have permission if their device is found flying too high or too close to buildings.

They could also be fined if they do not produce the relevant license or registration.

The bill will also give the police new stop and search powers around airports, prisons and other restricted areas.

Transport minister Baroness Vere said the powers would be used to deter “careless drone us and to tackle serious, malicious criminal activity”.

“Drones have incredible potential, whether that’s by transforming how we move goods around or saving lives in search and rescue missions,” she added.

The new rules come after a pilot reported seeing a drone at around 4,000 feet as they descended to land at Heathrow airport.

According to December’s airprox report, the risk of collision was classified as “low”. However, the legal altitude limit for flying drones is just 400 feet.

People will still be able to get permission to fly drones for purposes such as photography and surveying.

In December 2018, a drone attack at Gatwick airport brought 140,000 people’s Christmas travel plans to a standstill.

The incident left Britain’s second-busiest airport on lockdown for 33 hours, and military personnel were eventually called in to put an end to the disruption.

However, the incident was estimated to have cost more than £50m.

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