• If you have any concerns about unmanned aircraft being used in your area, either from a safety or privacy perspective, contact your local police on 101.

    As a general rule, unless the remote pilot has permission from the CAA, he or she should not be flying a camera equipped unmanned aircraft within 150m of a ‘congested area’ (e.g. town or city) or at a public event

    The definition of a congested area in relation to a city, town or settlement means:

    • ‘Congested Area’ in relation to a city, town or settlement, means any area which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes   

    When the pilot does have permission from the CAA, such flights are usually restricted to flight distances no closer than 50m from people, vehicles and structures that are not ‘under the control’ of the pilot.     

    These restrictions mean that the use of a unmanned aircraft in public places is limited and often not suitable or legal unless the operator has received the appropriate permission from the CAA.  Our enforcement strategy has recently changed to better reflect the balance of capabilities between the CAA and local Police services.  

    The Police often have greater resources, response times and powers of investigation than the CAA.  To support this, the CAA has now agreed with the Police, in a signed Memorandum of Understanding that the Police will take the lead in dealing with unmanned aircraft misuse incidents, particularly at public events, that may contravene aviation safety legislation or other relevant criminal legislation.

    The CAA’s remit is limited to safety and does not include concerns over privacy or broadcast rights.

    Privacy issues are covered by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and will not be dealt with by the CAA.