For a while the government has been scrambling to try and figure out what it should do about regulating drones, especially since there are dumb fucks out there that think it's still acceptable to fly them into planes. We already know that there are laws in the works that would prevent anyone owning a drone over 250 grams without registering and passing some sort of proficiency test, but now the government would like to stop children from flying them too.
This new proposal comes from the Department of Transport, and would prevent children from owning or flying any drones over the 250g limit. That means RC toys are in the clear, but heftier drones that can actually do some damage are not. If approved this new caveat would be added to the Drone Bill, which is currently undergoing consultation and is set to be published in full later this year.
As we've reported in the past, the bill has already proposed a number of things to prevent harmful drone use, including registering all drones with the Civil Aviation Authority, users having to pass an online proficiency test, and more powers for police to confiscate errant drones. If the DfT gets its way they could be joined by the power for police to issue fines to drone owners ignoring the rules, regulations and mandates for apps that let drone pilots file flight plans, as well as the introduction of anti-drone tech to protect public events, critical infrastructure, and prisons,
The announcement hasn't included an age limit, just that the DfT wants to introduce a mandatory age restriction on drone ownership. It's unclear how old people will have to be to go out and buy one, though I'd imagine somewhere between 16 and 18 is likely. After all if you trust a teenager with a car, there aren't many arguments against trusting them with a small flying machine.
Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister, said:
"Drones present exciting benefits to our society and our economy, but with a small group of people choosing to use them for harm there are challenges we must overcome if we are to prevent them hindering the potential of this technology.
"That’s why we’ve already introduced safety measures like a height limit, and rules around airports, and today we are consulting on how we go further, including extra police powers and a minimum age requirement."