• Small unmanned aircraft are now widely available for commercial and recreational use. More popularly known as drones, they can cause injury or damage if they are not used responsibly and so are subject to safety rules, which are underpinned by UK law.  

    These regulations are shown below and there are some specific additional steps that must be taken if a drone is being flown for ‘aerial work’.

    Anyone using a small drone needs to be aware of the regulations contained in the Air Navigation Order, specifically:

    • article 138 - endangering safety of any person or property
    • article 166 - small unmanned aircraft
    • article 167 - small unmanned surveillance aircraft
    • article 255 - for the meanings of 'aerial work' and 'small unmanned aircraft'

    These rules have been established to provide a safe environment in which small drones can be flown without coming into conflict with manned aircraft and without risk to other people or properties.  

    You must be in possession of a Permission issued by the CAA before you conduct any aerial work with your drone. 

    Large unmanned aircraft

    Please see our guidance about large unmanned aircraft (aircraft with an operating mass of more than 20kg).

  • Permission holders

    Further information

    For full guidance on unmanned aircraft systems in UK airspace, please read CAP 722