Drone use

Drone use

We are receiving increasing numbers of enquiries about the use of drones in the city.

Drones may be also be referred as

  • unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
  • small unmanned aircraft (SUA)
  • unmanned aerial systems (UAS)

The law

All civil aircraft flying in the United Kingdom are subject to the Civil Aviation Act 1982. This Act gives power to the Secretary of State to make secondary legislation referred to as Air Navigation Orders.

Civil Air Authority

If your drone is over 250 grams and you'll be flying outside, then by law you also need to register with the CAA. Rather than registering the drone, the CAA record the adult that will be responsible for the drone itself. It costs £9 per drone owner and the process can be done very quickly and simply at https://register-drones.caa.co.uk/

Anyone who is going to be flying the drone needs to look at the online education package at the same website, and pass a short multiple-choice test to get their flyer ID. As well as being a legal requirement, the information will help set you up as a safe drone flyer and provide you with invaluable information to make you more confident with your drone.

You can always refer back to the safety information in the Dronecode, as this provides all the basic safety rules and advice that you need to comply with. Key to this, is remaining below 400ft (120 Metres), keeping clear of aircraft and airfields, and not flying too close to people and property.

There is a fine of up to £1,000 for anyone found guilty of not complying with the drone registration requirements.

The CAA permission only addresses the flight safety aspects of the flight operation and does not constitute permission to disregard the legitimate interests of other statutory bodies such as Northumbria Police and the other Emergency services and the Highway Agency.


Recording images of people without their consent could be construed as a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 or the CCTV code of practice. The Information Commissioner's Office makes the distinction between 'hobbyists' and individuals/organisations who use the drones for professional/commercial purposes. However the CCTV Code of Practice states that "it will be good practice for domestic users to be aware of the potential privacy intrusion which the use of UAS can cause to make sure they are used in a responsible manner".

Please note: This information has no legal force and is not an authoritative interpretation of the law, which is a matter for the Courts. It is intended to help individuals and businesses to understand in general terms, the main features of the legislation. The information is not a substitute for the legislation and you should refer to the text of the legislation for a full statement of legal requirements and obligations. Where appropriate, you should seek your own independent legal advice.

For further information, please contact Public Safety, Regulation and Development, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Email: psr@newcastle.gov.uk

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