• The Secretary of State for the Department for Transport is empowered under the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016 (as amended) to make regulations prohibiting, restricting or imposing conditions on flight by civil aircraft in UK airspace and by any UK registered civil aircraft in any other airspace within which the UK, under international arrangements, has undertaken to provide navigational services to aircraft.  Such regulations are made only when the Secretary of State deems it necessary in the public interest.  Types of airspace restrictions are as follows:

    • Prohibited Area
    • Restricted Area
    • Danger Area 


    Airspace restrictions may be temporary or permanent.  Please refer to the UK Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) section ENR 1.1 (available on the NATS Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) website) for further details.  Additionally, an Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) (in the Yellow (Operational) series) (available on the NATS AIS website) contains details of how temporary restricted areas may need to be established in connection with emergencies in UK airspace.

    Notification to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Airspace Regulation

    For temporary airspace restriction requests relating to forthcoming events, please complete and submit the notification form.  All requests for a temporary airspace restriction must meet the requirements of Article 239 of the ANO 2016 (as amended) and applicants should be able to deliver a robust case to justify the request.  For temporary airspace restriction requests, a minimum of 90 days’ notice is required.  During periods of high workload, we may be unable to process requests made with less than the stated minimum notice.

    If it is a recurring event/activity, please quote the previous CAA activity reference number (if known) when completing the notification form.

    Do not make requests for emergency airspace restrictions through this process.  Please refer to the current AIC (in the Yellow (Operational) series) (available on the NATS AIS website).

    Proposals for permanent airspace restrictions must follow the process detailed in CAP 1616: Airspace change: Guidance on the regulatory process for changing the notified airspace design and planned and permanent redistribution of air traffic, and on providing airspace information.

    If a request does not meet the criteria for a legally mandated airspace restriction, it may be possible to issue a request to airspace users to avoid the area.  Applicants must bear in mind that the issue of such a request will depend on the local airspace environment and there will be no obligation or requirement for airspace users to comply with it.

    After you submit the notification form, you will receive an automated email confirmation that the details have been received.

    When the notification is received, the details are checked to ensure all required information has been provided in line with regulatory/policy requirements.  The event/activity is then compared against other known activity where we would support the co-ordination and deconfliction of any conflicting activities.  If clarification of the details is required, we will contact you via the email address that was provided in the notification form. 

  • CAA Airspace Regulation will consider requests for the issue of exemptions to permit aircraft to enter permanent Prohibited and Restricted Areas.  Requests should be made by completing and submitting the notification form.  Before submitting an exemption request, please check the details for that particular Area in the UK AIP section ENR 5.1 (available on the NATS AIS website), because some restrictions only apply to certain types of aircraft.  A minimum of 28 days' notice should be given.  During periods of high workload, we may be unable to process requests made with less than the stated minimum notice.

    If it is a recurring event/activity, please quote the previous CAA activity reference number (if known) when completing the notification form.

    The current legislation restricting flying in the vicinity of certain prisons does not apply to Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and fixed wing aircraft, therefore, a CAA exemption is not required.  However, operators of UAS are strongly advised to liaise with the relevant establishment, so that they are aware of your intentions.  Airspace Regulation can provide appropriate contact details for each establishment.

    After you submit the notification form, you will receive an automated email confirmation that the details have been received.

    When the notification is received, the details are checked to ensure all required information has been provided in line with regulatory/policy requirements.  The event/activity is then compared against other known activity where we would support the co-ordination and deconfliction of any conflicting activities.  If clarification of the details is required, we will contact you via the email address that was provided in the notification form.

  • CAA Airspace Regulation output

    Our output is likely to consist of one or more of the following:

    • AIC and Notice to Aviation (NOTAM)

      Temporary airspace restrictions (other than emergency restrictions) are usually publicised through the issue of an AIC.  If timescales are too short for an AIC, the details (for other than emergency restrictions) may be published in a Briefing Sheet, which can be found under the “News” menu on the Home page of the NATS AIS website.
      Additionally, we will issue a NOTAM.  NOTAM are notices containing information concerning the establishment, condition or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations.  Further details of the NOTAM system are in the UK AIP section GEN 3.1 (available on the NATS AIS website) and in the UK NOTAM Guidance Material.
    • Exemptions

      Subject to successful assessment and co-ordination with the relevant establishment, an appropriate exemption will be issued, detailing the conditions under which flying can take place.

    We will endeavour to respond at least 14 days prior to the proposed start of the event/activity.  Valid NOTAM can be viewed on the NATS AIS website.  When enquiring about the status of an outstanding notification, please always quote the reference number that you received in the automated email confirmation.

    We will respond by email to the address that was provided in the notification form.  The email will explain whether or not the notification has been successfully processed.  Additional advice/guidance may be included.  If an exemption has been issued, it will be attached to the email.

    CAA Airspace Regulation do not currently charge for this work.  Full details of CAA charges can be found in the Scheme of charges.

    Temporary airspace restrictions are often related to a specific aerial event or activity.  Details of the CAA requirements, processes and output for each type of event/activity can be accessed via the Event and obstacle notification page.  Permanent airspace restrictions must follow the process detailed in CAP 1616.

  • If your event/activity is changed or cancelled, please refer to our guidelines for flying display organisers and display pilots and also inform Airspace Regulation as soon as possible.  If Airspace Regulation have already completed the assessment of the event/activity and provided you with a detailed response, please quote the activity reference number that was used in our email to you.

    For changes, appropriate re-assessment and notification action will be undertaken.  For cancellations, we will take action to cancel any output already published.

    However, please bear in mind that, during periods of high workload, we may be unable to action changes/cancellations made at short notice.

  • Responsibilities of the event/activity sponsor

    The CAA’s response to the sponsor does not constitute permission to disregard the legitimate interests of site landowners, other statutory bodies such as the Police and Emergency Services, the Highway Agency, local authorities (and their agents) or any other statutory body.  It is the sponsor/operator’s responsibility to ensure that those interests are taken into consideration before going ahead with the event/activity.

    The event/activity sponsor/operator is ultimately responsible for flight safety and must comply with the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016 (as amended) articles relating to endangerment:

    • Article 240 - Endangering safety of an aircraft

      A person must not recklessly or negligently act in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft, or any person in an aircraft.
    • Article 241 - Endangering safety of any person or property

      A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.

    ANO Article 265 provides that it is a criminal offence to contravene EC Regulations as retained (and amended in UK domestic law) under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the ANO or Regulations made under the Order.  Further information can be found in CAP 1422: Code of Practice for the Investigations and Enforcement Team.

    The sponsor/operator is responsible for the event/activity complying with all relevant national regulations. 

    Please refer to the relevant event/activity page for more specific guidance

  • Contact us

    If you have any questions, please contact Airspace Regulation between the hours of 08:30 and 16:30 Monday to Friday (excluding Public Holidays).  It may not be possible to action messages/notifications submitted after 16:00 until the next working day.

    Planned periods of extended closure of the Airspace Regulation section will be notified here:

    Nil