Local authorities / councils and the law

Apologies if this has been repeated elsewhere. The CAA have clarified Local Authorities don’t regulate airspace (though they can of course ban take off and landing on their land). The clarification is contained in the CAA’s CAP 722C

CAA’s CAP 722C

The Geeksvana YouTube channel provides an excellent analyses of CAP 722C here: CAA Clarify Council Drone Policy – CAP722 C – UK Drone Rules Series - Geeksvana - YouTube

And the Blackbelt Barrister has a great legal analyses of the limits of the power councils have to regulate drones (not much) here: Can a Local Council Ban Drones | Public Law | Drone Law | BlackBeltBarrister - YouTube Also useful info when any land owner claims they own the airspace.

The bit of the CAA’s 722C guidance document that is most relevant, and very useful to be armed with is:

4.3.2 Information for Local Authorities
Whilst byelaws may exist which protect council land, and those using it, these are not UAS Geographical Zones and the management of this airspace is only possible following establishment of an appropriate airspace structure, in accordance with the documents referenced throughout CAP 722C; the airspace remains a State asset, and is managed by the sponsor. As such, the details of these Byelaws will not be promulgated as UAS Geographical Zones within the AIP and will therefore not be displayed on online charts or apps. If Councils deem a UAS Geographical Zone is required in addition to any Byelaws, then they should follow the guidance within this document and the relevant referenced documents.

Only through a legal process to create a byelaw. And those are ripe for challenge.

Hall v. Beckenham stands as case law for the default position of a council without a byelaw on the use of UAS from their land. They are trustees of the land on behalf of the public, not regular owners of land like a private landowner would be. Any council policy on UAS not backed by a byelaw means basically nothing.

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Many many times.

Did you try searching before starting a new topic? I believe the forum software even suggests similair topics that already exist also.

Sorry, this post probably comes across more grumpy than it’s meant to, especially as I’ve been a previous serial offender for new topics when ones already exist.

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Thanks for the heads-up, i did try to look for matching topics but didn’t see the same links come up in simmilar topics, I should have spent more time looking.

I found it useful, because it came up as a new post in my emails and one of interest to me in Dartford, which has a bylaw prohibiting flight anywhere on Dartford Heath.

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I’ve been here over a year and yes this topic is discussed a lot but that line about bylaws only and trustees of the land was actually useful! So… I still find it confusing lol

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The pertinent bit of the judge’s ruling (and this was a case about model aircraft so… you know, clearly applicable to drones or if you’re using an Article 16 operational authorisation) was:

So long as a member of the public behaves himself in the ordinary way, committing no criminal offence and observing the by-laws, the corporation cannot stop his doing what he likes in this recreation ground . . I think that the corporation are the trustees and guardians of the park, and that they are bound to admit to it any citizen who wishes to enter it within the times when it is open. I do not think that they can interfere with any person in the park unless he breaks the general law or one of their by-laws.

If the council claims to have a policy prohibiting UAS but doesn’t have a byelaw covering it, it would be unlawful for them to try to enforce that policy.


It would also be worth pointing out that even if a byelaw is in place, it would only exclude TOAL from the land it covers, not flying over it. Unless there is also a CAA restriction in place.

Generally only useful for flying in A1 though to be honest.

If you want to fly under Article 16 your takeoff and landing site still needs to be covered under the rules for it being a suitable location.

Good point. As a new flyer with a Mini 2, I forget that there are many more restrictions for the heavier aircraft.