Contacted by Maldon District Council

I’ve just been contacted by the Tourism and Marketing head at Maldon District Council regarding my little video I made last Friday.

Upshot is they loved it but asked me to gain permission before flying there in future. I politely pointed out there are no bylaws in place, public land rules etc and she acknowledged as much and recognised that they have to work with UAV pilots and not just try and blanket ban them but they will use their PSPO powers if need be. They are trying to get a FRZ to cover the area but in the meantime all they want is assurances of CAA registration, licence and PLI. Very nice and polite she was. She also said they use drones extensively in their marketing (recently crashing a £4k drone themselves) and are aware of the changes in legislation and the use of sub 250gm UAV’s

A forward thinking, responsible and understanding council. Who’d have thunk it eh :smiley:


Got to love that local government mentality.

“You should ask permission even though you don’t need it” “it’s not a illegal but will use powers to make it so if needs be”

Sounds like it could have been worse and at least it was at least semi pleasant thought.


So knowing they had nothing in place to stop you flying they told you not to. Typical council :joy:


That’s the way I took it. She was polite and more or less said that permission being granted wasn’t a problem but they have to cover their arses with copies of licence, PLI etc.

I could have argued the legalities of it or quoted this and that but I thought what the hells the point. I’m a health, safety and environment officer myself so know where their coming from with regard to risk management, because that’s all it is.

I’ve been asked to shoot a short promo for a group of river paddle board litter clearers so I’ll soon be putting it to the test.


I think it’s more risk aversion rather than risk management.

I am not in H&S but have to assess, interpret and mitigate risk but being risk adverse is too far the other way.

I get we need to deal with the problem individuals not make it harder for those of us that want to “drone right”.

I suspect there is also the £ element with local government ans others as they can charge for permissions.

Veiled threat ?


Are these councils actually just spending time on YouTube looking for videos now to complain about though :joy:

As if they don’t have enough they could be doing…


I did post the link of their Facebook page so they didn’t have to look far :smiley:


They shouldn’t be seeking £. The CAA specifically addressed that point in CAP722C:
" 3.2 Airspace Access Charging

The establishment of an airspace restriction means that the sponsor is responsible for managing it, and not that the sponsor ‘owns’ it; airspace is a State asset. There should be no reason for a Sponsor to charge for access to airspace for UAS. Whilst some burden of work may exist in processing applications for UAS access to airspace, it is envisaged that this will not require an undue burden on the Sponsor and should incur negligible time or cost.

Any such cost should not be passed on to UAS operators, or manned aviation operators - in the case of a UAS Geographical Zones which facilitates UAS flight by restricting manned aviation."


It might not be. I see this council in Kent went ahead as threatened and introduced a PSPO against drones last April:

PSPOs (which I’d never heard of until today) can be used to criminalise a wide range of lawful activities, on the whim of a council. Many find this disturbing.

EDIT: I see there’s a separate thread on this: Anti Drone Public Spaces Protection Orders


They aren’t charging for the airspace though. They are charging for the permission to TOAL on their property.

Lots of organisations now prohibit TOAL without permission (and non commercial flights are often not even considered) by using bylaws etc Councils and the NT spring to mind.

What I find disconcerting is they have members of staff I presume looking at YouTube videos to then start contacting people with their point of view about flying drones!

I’ll just make this point. I posted a link to the video on a group Facebook page under my real name, not my YouTube channel name, and this person is also a member of that group and they contacted me from there via Facebook Messenger. She really didn’t have to go looking for it.

She is actively looking at ways to bring UAV pilots and the Council to an understanding that suits all and to that end, starting next week, wants to set up a ‘Working Party’ with various stakeholders at the council, the police and members of the drone community and after a long conversation has asked me to sit on this working party if it does indeed get off the ground. Regardless of whether they have the legal power in place or not it does no-one any good to fight them on this. As with the NT dialogue is the way to go.


I contacted my local council explaining were i wanted to fly and why. I asked if the council had objection or advice.
I was contacted and asked to supply my phone number so the correct officer could get back to me. I am still waiting for the officer to call from over 3 weeks ago, so i will fly were i asked too and wait for them to contact me over it.

Sounds positive, I have no doubt the “ask permission” element is more likely to be due to the party line rather than just being an arse.

1 Like

I think entering into any dialogue with a council is the start of restrictions, why else engage with the public if they think the drone code is adequate? They started off on the attack forcing you to defend a perfectly legal flight. Other far better ways to open a dialogue.


There is nothing stopping them putting in a PSPO. They want dialogue to allow recreational use of UAV’s in their parks and she didn’t say whether they thought the drone code was adequate or not. She simply asked me that should I want to fly there again to ask permission. Now, I could have refused and told her to go screw herself as I don’t need to but pound to a pinch of salt when they are the ones that could restrict our fun why antagonise them at the very outset. Should I want to fly there again, which I will, and they refuse sighting nuisance and river wildlife concerns then I can start arguing the legalities and reach of their powers. Until then I think its far more useful for all concerned to at least start talking and understanding each others concerns. Just because we have the legal power to fly in certain areas doesn’t mean we automatically say stuff you and do it.

And if I get permission to fly there or at any of their other parks and I get officially approached then I’ll have email documentation allowing me to carry on. How many people, hand on heart, can say they’ve been flying, been approached and asked to land and leave and have done just that rather than stand their ground and get into an argument?


I wonder if they contact every car driver that uses the roads around the district to ask for evidence of their driving licence, insurance, mot ect? How many drone incidents have they had vs how many car accidents? (That could be a good FOI request if they want others to join the nuisance enquiry club too!)

Risk management should be around assessment of the risks, not about botty-covering.

1 Like

It’s also odd that the contact was from Tourism and Marketing. Surely if this was really considered to be a safety issue, it would have been sent via Insurance and Risk Management (or whatever they have as equivalent).

I do wonder if these people have maybe a little too much time on their hands, working from home during lockdown and are desperately looking for something to do to justify their salaries? Looking forward to the time when they can get back to focusing on tourism and marketing with real tourists able to visit freely.

Isn’t this the point we should be more concerned about :thinking:
Nice words but what they want to do is stop us flying :frowning_face: