East Devon District Council Drone Policy

Dear all, newbie here.
I believe I saw a query about EDDC a while ago concerning their Drone policy.
I have spoken to them because they are / were / and still unclear about their Drone policy. This came about because a resident tried to remove me from a recreational area I was well within the CAA rules for flying my DJI mini 2 drone. I dibdny t want any trouble bit sought the views of EDDC and their Done Policy.

Quite frankly although I am a newbie I knew far more than they do about it

The following is cut and pasted from an e mail I received today. It may be useful to those in East Devon


Keep that in your bag ;o)

Offer them some help producing it :+1:


It’s a shame you didn’t stand your ground with the resident, he probably thinks he’s in the right now, whereas he was in the wrong for even disturbing you while flying and acting without lawful authority for removing you. Quite simply, for any council to ban drones, they have to have a byelaw, which will have to have gone through the proper legal channels of government, a very long and expensive process. A council can have as many policies as it likes, they aren’t enforceable.

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THIS :point_up:t2:

Thanks for sharing @997Drone

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What about PSPOs?

I’m in Brent, London and they’ve put a Public Spaces Protection Order in place covering all Brent parks that forbids all drone use without written consent. It’s in place for 3 years from Sep 2019.

Sadly PSPOs seem to be easier for councils to bring in than a new byelaw. Hope this practice doesn’t spread.

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I was flying at a location before this lockdown - a disused airfield that does have a flying policy and does allow flying.

Then this nasty women appears - she works there as a warden. She insisted we were not allowed to fly and tried her hardest to stop us.

So we found the byelaws that were on her own website. FFS!

I had an autistic adult with me - he went into a full blown meltdown after she basically attacked us verbally like a Head Mistress.

We did fly - she went off with tail between her legs. And we got an apology from the corporation that runs the site.

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The first thing i would wonder on the PSPO is what is the reason for the blanket ban and how do you obtain written consent? have you tried?
Where I am going is, is it just a visit to show someone you know what the rules are, even just prove you have done your Dmares and A2CofC (if applicable for your drone) ? or is it just a councillor does not like drones in an area in the next county and we thought we would follow suit.

A PSPO is designed to prevent anti social behaviour, I’d very much doubt that drone flying is meant to be covered by this. It is supposed to be reasonable and proportionate which again, I doubt very much it would apply.

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seems Brent are quite bad for it

if you go to the parks, open spaces, cemetaries & graveyards bit then you can see they think that drone pilots are as much of an anoyance as people urinating and deficating all over the place.

how nice.

It would seem that the PSPO is draconian, by the very wording that’s used. They are designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces without experiencing anti-social behaviour.
So if by flying a drone within the law (law abiding) then I would think that Brent council can shove their PSPO where the sun doesn’t shine.
I’m pretty certain that there’s another law which overrides the PSPO which effectively forbids any elected body, government department and police from banning anyone from enjoying the freedom to enjoy their lawful hobby.

As is it is primary legislation, the Human Rights Act over-rides local regulations such as the PSPO, bye-laws, and indeed even the Air Navigation Order (which is mere secondary legislation). Oddly, and I’m sure this was just a slip of the author’s pen, the HRA has very little to say about a right to fly drones :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

More seriously, bye-laws and PSPOs are both deeply undemocratic. However, in practice there is very little you can do about them. Unless there is a history or likelihood of persistent misuse of drones, a PSPO banning them may be unlawful: but who is actually going to pursue a judicial review?

If they have a policy against flying drones in their park, they can in theory enforce it by declaring you a trespasser and taking reasonable steps to get you to leave. It’s their private land.

An entirely agree with you that these restriction and draconian and not what PSPOs should be used for.

However, Brent in its wisdom has put this one into effect and sadly as far as I know it is legally enforceable - ie the police can issue you with an instant fine for breaching it.

As kvetner says, it may well be that if you were fined you could pursue the matter in court and argue that the PSPO is disproportionate and have it overturned. But of course that means 1000’s in legal fees. In practice I’ll just avoid flying there. Luckily I live right near the boundary with camden where there are (to my knowledge) no drone restrictions - so I’ll just go and fly there.

But the use of such laws is concerning and would be good as a group to work out how best to fight them. I might start a new thread as I’ve rather sidetracked this one!

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How about asking Brent council, via a FOI request, for data re. the number/frequency of complaints relating to drone usage in parks in the borough?

To my mind, a PSPO would need a body of ‘evidence’ to support its creation.


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Continued in fresh thread:

I fly in East Devon (responsibly) and have done for the past 12 months, between lockdowns anyway.
Can you tell me where you were when the person spoke to you? I have had zero problems so far in a number of different locations.
Even if ED impose policies/bylaws they will still need someone to patrol/enforce them. Can’t see that happening.

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hi steve. as a matter of interest where was it you were flying? i have flown at dawlish warren recently and also outside buckfastleigh. but flying in the torbay area is starting to get the wrong type of interest. am always looking for places to fly
look forward to your reply

No, PSPOs are in name meant to prevent antisocial behaviour but the government that brought them in had very different intentions. And this is exactly the sort of policy creep we were warned against.

Hi Sawnoff & Davalan 1
To put this in perspective. I am a newbie and wanted a quiet area to “practice”. Its a DJI Mini 2 (Sub 250gm)
I have a Flyer ID by my choice.
I went to Rodney Close recreation ground. It’s at the bottom of Littleham area in Exmouth. As it was my first time and I do know the “rules” I was not prepared to stand and argue with the person. It was my choice to move on.
Not least we are in the middle of a Lockdown and whilst I am happy I can stand my ground over the rules I would have been caught out if the Police were called with regard to was I exercising or was I in recreation? A risk I did not want to take.
However, have no fear, once lockdown rules are relaxed I will be going straight back to Rodney Close as this person I believe has a ‘reputation’ and I shall of course let them know they are completely wrong.

On the other front. (Still cautious of Lockdown rules)
I have been on the Estuary edge at Lympstone, quite quiet there.
The top of Foxholes at the far end of the sea front
and the far end of the car park behind Marks and Spencer in Exmouth, overlooking the estuary.

As I said I spoke to EDDC an they do not have a policy and I was advised when they do it will simply be follow the CAA rules. However I am not sure they know how to differentiate between different Drone Classes and weights etc.

Hope tags helps



I remember this was summarised in the local paper about a year ago.