London Borough of Bromley Byelaw


I live in Bromley and discovered that there’s a byelaw prohibiting flying of model aircraft in parks. Here’s an extract:

  1. i A person shall not:
    a) in the ground release any power driven model aircraft for flight or control the flight of such a craft;
    b) cause any power driven model aircraft to take off or land in the ground.

ii In this byelaw unless the context otherwise requires:

Model Aircraft means an aircraft which either weighs not more than 5 kilogrammes without its fuel or is for the time being exempted (as a model aircraft) from provisions of the Air Navigation Order

Power Driven means driven by the combustion of petrol vapour or other combustible fuels*

From my reading of this it wouldn’t apply to a battery powered drone since batteries aren’t a combustible fuel (not intentionally anyway :grin:). Would be interested to see if others agree?

Not sure what “unless the context otherwise requires” means in practice though. Perhaps it’s intended to give them more flexibility to ban whatever they like!?


You’re second guessing what a magistrate in the court will decide. Which is tricky because my experience of the bottom rung of the court system is the judges are idiots. Although I was only in there once so my sample size is not big!

But yes, you’d feel pretty aggrieved if the judge decides an electrically-powered “model aircraft” is covered by this.

I’d still fly discreetly, you hardly want Bromley to cotton on and decide it’s time to update the byelaw.


Thanks kvetner. I’m sure you’re right. On the face of things my Mini 2 is neither a model aircraft or power driven by a combustible fuel but who knows what a court might conclude. The context clause sounds deliberately vague - maybe allows for anything in the spirit of that definition of a model aircraft to be caught even if technically outside.

I’ve flown in a few of the larger open spaces/parks away from the town centres and so far all has been fine. I imagine it would be more likely to attract attention in a busy town centre park or where there’s a children’s play area or sports club for instance so I’d always stay away from those sort of places.

Like you say, I wouldn’t ask the council as that might just prompt them to modernise the bylaw to cover electrically powered aircraft. At least for now if challenged I have a reasonable defence.

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Norman park has a designated flying area for which the byelaw doesn’t fully apply, also West wickham common is owned by the corporation of London and again doesn’t have such a byelaw, All he other Commons do.


Thank you VV22. I didn’t know that. It says something about a control line exemption in Norman Park but I wasn’t sure what that meant.

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Anti-drone byelaws is discussed by the BlackBeltBarrister here is interesting.

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Thanks, will take a look.

Control line are a specific type of RC plane that is attached via a “control line” you basically spin around in circles and control it by wire so you are always attached to the aircraft.