Drones are becoming more popular than ever before. They have become the toy of choice for youngsters and adults alike and can be bought from the nearest corner shop.

Always fly responsibly. Never fly above 120 metres (400ft), or within 50 metres of a congested area or large crowds of people. Don’t fly near airports or airfields – or give way to manned aircraft at all times, regardless of how high up they are.

These flying machines have evolved in such a manner that now there are drones for both national and international use. Drone laws England that apply to this part of the world are introduced in this article.

Drone Laws England

Drone Laws England

Don’t Fly Near Airports Or Aircraft

It is an offence to fly your drone or model aircraft in a way which causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Don’t fly your drone near people or property. You should always be able to see your drone at all times. Do not fly a drone over large crowds or built up areas and keep below 400 feet (120 metres) when flying. It’s up to you to decide if the flight can safely take place – if in doubt, don’t fly.

Don’t Fly Higher Than 400 Feet (120 Metres)

The drone code was put together to give you the confidence to fly your drone safely, and the tips below will help you follow the rules:

  • Don’t Fly Higher Than 400 Feet (120 Metres) – this reduces the likelihood of a conflict with manned aircraft
  • Keep your drone within sight – if your drone has a camera, check your live video feed rather than just relying on what you can see directly
  • Never fly near airports or airfields – not just large commercial airports. It’s illegal to fly within 1 kilometre of any airport or airfield boundary unless permission is granted from air traffic control at that airport
  • You are responsible for each flight – only fly your drone if you’re competent and understand all relevant safety guidance

Keep The Right Distance From People And Property

As a drone pilot, it’s your responsibility to keep your drone at the right distance from people and property.

  • You must not fly closer than 50 meters to people or property.
  • You must not fly closer than 150 meters to congested areas or large gatherings of people, such as concerts and sports events. In these areas you must also keep your drone in sight at all times.
  • You must not fly closer than 30 meters to vehicles, vessels and the public. That’s unless you have permission from the person in charge.

Always Keep Your Drone In Sight

You must always keep your drone in sight and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you can’t do this, you’re risking an accident.

To fly your small drone safely:

  • Know the limitations of your drone model and equipment. For example, if it’s windy or raining heavily, don’t fly near trees or tall buildings, as they could block the signal to your drone.
  • Your remote control may also have a limited range or battery life which will affect how far or long you can fly for.
  • Read the manual that came with your model and follow it carefully (find out about safe flying techniques). You must be familiar with how your product works before you take it out of the box – don’t just read and throw away any information provided by the manufacturer. Make sure that anyone else who flies it is also familiar with its operation before taking control of it.

Be Aware Of Privacy Laws

You must not fly your drone over or near people without permission. You are responsible to respect other people’s consent, so you need to be confident that individuals are happy for you to film them from the air. If there is any doubt then do not fly. Drones should not be flown within 30 metres (100 feet) of people, except for take-off and landing.

If you do film anyone, make sure you have their consent – especially if it is for commercial purposes (e.g., if you intend to sell the footage).6

Keep Yourself Safe And Legal

You should always be aware of the laws in place around you, especially if you’re a commercial drone pilot. Laws are constantly changing and developing, so the onus is on you to keep up-to-date. This guide will explain the drone laws in England, but remember that the rules vary from country to country and state to state.

For example, in Europe, drones are regulated by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), whereas in England and Scotland they fall under Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulation. In Canada, they come under Transport Canada regulation while in America they fall under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

If you don’t follow these rules and regulations, then it’s not only your license at risk: You could be fined or even imprisoned if you break the law regarding drone usage in England.

How To Register Drone In England

How To Register Drone In England

It is a legal requirement that all owners of drones weighing more than 250g, who are 18 years old or older, register and complete a safety awareness test before flying their drone outdoors.

You must register your drone if you own one weighing more than 250g and you’re 18 years old or over.

There are consequences if you don’t. You may be fined up to £1000 (or up to £2500 for commercial users). Your drone may also be seized.

Registration costs just £9 for 12 months, with renewals costing just £4.50 each year thereafter. Remember: registration is required every consecutive year from when it is first purchased and you will receive an email reminder when it is time to renew your registration for the next year.

Step 1 – How Should You Register?

Registering with the CAA is mandatory in England if you fly a drone or unmanned aircraft weighing between 250g and 20kg. You must register with the CAA and take an online education package. Registration is online only, and there’s no charge to register as an operator of a small drone (under 20kg).

Once you’ve registered, you will get a Flyer ID and be able to take an online theory test. The Flyer ID will allow you to operate more than one drone under 20kg, but each model of drone must have its own individual registration number (and this will be provided for free when you take your theory test). A flyer’s licence is valid for five years before renewal is needed.

You’ll need to provide some personal details when registering, including your name and email address, as well as some information about the drones themselves: their weight, make and model. Anyone over 13 years old can register with the CAA skills tests are not required for under-17s (although they can still take them).

Step 2 – What Type Of User You Are?

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be able to act responsibly
  • You must be registered and certified
  • You must have insurance
  • You should follow the rules

That’s it! There are a few other things to keep in mind, such as keeping your drone in sight, not flying higher than 400 feet, and staying away from airports.

These all make sense for safety reasons. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d want someone to do that with a helicopter or small airplane. If the answer is no, then don’t do it with your drone!

Step 3 – Pass The Online Theory Test?

If you don’t pass the test, you can retake it, but there is a fee. As of writing, the test costs £9.00 and can be taken in English only. To start the online theory test, which will take 30 minutes to complete, you must have your payment card information ready.

You’ll need to score at least 75% on the theory test to pass, so read up before taking it! You must take and pass the online theory test before you can apply for a flyer ID.

Step 4 – Apply For A Flyer Id?

You can apply for a Flyer ID through a process on the CAA website.

In order to create an account, you’ll need to provide your name, residential address, phone number and email address. You must also provide one form of personal identification (such as a passport or driving license) and one form of proof of address (such as a recent gas bill).

Once you’ve registered with the CAA there is a £9 annual fee for each drone registration.

Step 5 – Pass The Practical Test?

In order to register a drone, the pilot must pass the practical test. As of November 5th, 2019, you are required to show competency in flight. You must be able to safely fly a drone without causing injury or property damage.

This means that you will need to learn how to handle emergency procedures, flight maneuvers and aircraft maintenance. You can either take this test online or in person at one of several locations across England.

Are Drones Allowed In England

You Must Follow The Rules Set Out Below

  • Drones must not be flown within 50 meters of any person, vehicle, building or structure (unless you are under the control of the owner and/or occupier of that property)
  • Drones must be flown at all times within your direct unaided visual line of sight
  • If a drone has a camera then you should not fly it over open air assemblies or crowds of more than 1,000 people. In case you’re wondering, an open air assembly is where people are gathered together in a specific area to take part in sporting events or in cultural activities (like music festivals).
  • You shouldn’t fly them over congested areas like cities or towns either. If you want to fly your drone in one of these areas then you will need permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
  • You can only fly drones during daylight hours and they shouldn’t be used in bad weather conditions. In other words don’t use them during foggy weather because it limits how far away objects can be seen with the naked eye.
  • It’s against the law to fly a drone above 400 feet (120 meters)

You Must Keep Your Drone In Sight At All Times

This means that you must always be able to see your drone with your own eyes (don’t use any video screen or other device for this) and never fly it more than 500 metres away from you.

Drones have a theoretical maximum distance of around 2 miles, but in reality they may lose connection with the remote control unit well before this. Many models also include a ‘return home’ function that will make the drone fly back to you if it loses signal.

Keeping your drone in sight is important both for safety reasons and because it’s a legal requirement. If you cannot see it then you cannot control it, and if you are not able to keep control of your drone then there is a risk of it crashing or causing injury to people or damage to property on the ground.

Never Fly Near Aircraft

You should never fly near aircraft at any time. Aircraft need lots of room to take-off and land, so it is important that you stay well away from airport and airfields.

Remember, it is your responsibility not to endanger anyone’s safety including your own. You must be aware of the risk that a drone can pose to other aircraft in flight.

Drones can be seen as a hazard to air traffic. If you see an aircraft when flying your drone, move away immediately.

Never Fly Above 400ft

The CAA recommends that you do not fly above 400ft (120m) and to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

This limit is especially important if a drone is being flown near an airport or airfield, to help avoid collisions with manned aircraft. If flying in your back garden, you should make sure that you are aware of the restrictions on flying heights and distances from airports before operating a drone.

If you are flying your drone within 500 metres of an airport, airfield or aerodrome, it is recommended that you visit the CAA website to take a look at their guidelines regarding this subject.

Never Fly Over Large Crowds Or Built-up Areas

The Civil Aviation Authority states that “drones can be flown for a variety of reasons, including commercial use and recreation. You must also remember that drones can pose a threat to public safety.

For example, drones have been used to drop explosives in war zones; they have been crashed into crowds; they have interfered with aircraft operations; and they have been used to smuggle drugs, mobile phones and other contraband.

Therefore, it is suggested that you follow the guidelines below regarding what you should or shouldn’t do with your drone:

Follow The Manufacturer’s Instructions And Stay Within Their Guidance

Your drone will come with a manual, read it and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some drones are designed for use indoors, some are designed for use in lower rain conditions. Follow the advice the manufacturer gives you to ensure you are safe when flying your drone.

Don’t fly above the maximum altitude of your drone, this may mean that you can’t fly above 400 feet or just over 120 metres.

Act responsibly and don’t fly out of sight as if you lose control of your drone you could cause damage to property or injure someone else.

Don’t fly over congested areas or large crowds, if something were to go wrong with your drone then it could cause serious injury to anyone below it.

Don’t fly close to airports or airfields; this is illegal unless permission has been granted from a designated person from that airport or airfield. Don’t land on the runway!

Drones Are Fun But Also Dangerous (some Rules To Remember)

  • If you fly a drone, you must keep it at least 150ft away from buildings, vehicles and people;
  • You can’t fly your drone over crowds of people or built-up areas;
  • You must not fly above 400 ft (120 m) to comply with aviation rules;
  • Drones are classified as aircraft so you should never fly near airports or airfields. The best way to find out where NOT to fly is to use the Drone Assist app or NATS airspace map;
  • Don’t let your drone out of sight. If your drone endangers aircraft, it could be reported to the police;
  • You can’t fly at night (you need permission from the CAA if you want to).

Frequently Asked Question (drone Laws England)

Can I Fly A Drone Without A License?

You can fly a drone without a license. If you have your registered drone with you, then the chances are that you will be fine. However, if there is any doubt, it is always best to ask permission before flying a drone in an area where they may cause annoyance or distress to others.

There are also certain rules and regulations that apply to the use of drones by commercial organizations such as photographers and surveyors. For example, if your business uses drones for aerial photography or survey work then it is recommended that you register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Do I Need To Register My Drone?

No, you do not need to register a drone if you are flying it for recreational purposes. You will need to apply for a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA if you want to fly your drone commercially.

Do I Need Permission To Fly My Drone?

The short answer is no, you don’t need permission to fly your drone. There are some restrictions on where you can fly, however:

  • You can’t fly in a congested area or within 50 meters of an airport (unless it’s been pre-approved).
  • If the drone is heavier than 7 kilograms, it needs to be registered as a commercial drone.
  • It’s illegal for anyone under 16 years old to fly a drone in England.

Where Can I Fly My Drone?

You must not fly your drone over or within 150 metres (492 feet) of a congested area. This includes areas with a large group of people, vehicles and buildings.

You cannot fly your drone over or within 50 metres (164 feet) of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure which is not in the control zone of your aircraft.

If you are flying your drone at night, you must not fly it above 400ft (122m). You should always stay below this height limit when operating near built up areas.


You can fly your drone for fun as long as it stays under 400ft (120m). Don’t fly within 150m (500ft) of any congested area, nor over or within 150m of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under your control.

There are several drone laws and regulations that you need to take into account when flying a drone in England and the UK. The following information will be useful in ensuring the safety of you, your friends and family, as well as other people on the ground.

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