National Trust Policy Correspondence

I wrote to the National Trust regarding their policy and stance on drone flying. I kept it as polite as I could. Here’s the correspondence. Make of it what you will.

Dear Sir/Madam

Please could you tell me what your policy is on drone flights over your properties?
I have read numerous reports that you have a policy that bans ALL drone flights on and over ALL NT owned land. Is this correct?
As a drone pilot that will be visiting a lot of your properties in the coming months I’d like to get this clarified.

Kind regards

(Essex on Film)

Dear Phil

Thank you for your enquiry. All the information that you need about drone filming at the NT sites are on this website link.

Flying drones at our places | National Trust

Thank you Sarah,

Please could you pass this information on to the relevant department as I’d like a reply to these specific items taken directly from your website.

** CAA regulations state that drones should not be flown above or near to people. As our properties often have staff living or working on site, visitors present or have open access, unauthorised drone flying is both illegal and potentially puts people at risk.*

    • Not true. Sinse January 1st (updated feb 21) of this year the CAA Drone regulations state C0 class drones below 250gms in weight can fly anywhere as long as they keep to the new regulations of always keeping a line of sight.*
      ** Few non-commercial users have the correct training or permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to operate drones.*
    • Again, not true. The only time a drone pilot would need permission to fly is in specific designated no fly zones such as those around airports etc.*
      ** Many drones have cameras attached and these could infringe data protection laws (filming people without permission) and potentially could contravene National Trust rules on commercial photography and filming.*
    • Not true again. There is no expectation of privacy in public. If you can see it with your eyes it can be filmed or photographed. Permission isn’t required. That has been law for years.*
    • The National Trust cannot regulate the skies above its properties. The National Trust cannot dictate or regulate who or how anyone flies over one of its properties. The only body that can is the CAA and those restricted areas are very clearly marked on numerous maps and phone apps. If a drone pilot takes off and lands from a public place or from land he has permission to fly from he can fly over any building or place as long as he adheres to rules as stated in The Drone and Model Aircraft Code*

Can I suggest you update your website to reflect the rules as laid by the CAA here

This is a direct quote from that page.

#### Small drones and model aircraft: below 250g, C0 or C1 class

The rule on minimum distances to people is different when flying small drones and model aircraft that are below 250g, or in C0 or C1 class.

If you’re flying a drone or model aircraft that’s lighter than 250g or is C0 class, you can fly closer to people than 50m and you can fly over them.

When you’re thinking about how close you can fly, remember, you must never put people in danger. Even small drones and model aircraft could injure people if you don’t fly them safely.


#### Small drones and model aircraft: below 250g, C0 or C1 class

You can fly small drones and model aircraft that are lighter than 250g, or C0 or C1 class, in residential, recreational, commercial and industrial areas.

Over 65,000 sub 250gm drones with 4k video cameras have been sold in the UK by just one company alone sinse it launched a certain model last November and there is an ever growing community of responsible hobby drone pilots out there. Rather than try and dictate rules that don’t exist and you have no power to enforce I would suggest getting to know the drone community a little better rather than viewing them all as a danger and a nuisance.

I sincerely look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards


Essex on Film

Hi Phil

Thanks for your email.

I’ve gone and passed your email on to our Outdoor Activities department, and they’re best placed to answer questions when it comes to drone flying and regulations. They’ll be in touch with you soon.

Hope this helps. If you need anything from our end, let us know and we’ll be happy to assist.

Kind regards
Mike Strickland
Supporter Services Centre
National Trust
Dear Phil,

Thank you for getting in touch regarding the CAA regulations mentioned on our website.
We appreciate you getting in touch to let us know the regulations have been updated. We will review the updated regulations with out legal team and if required update the website as suggested.

We are all busy dealing with the affects of the pandemic, so we might not be able to issue any website updates quickly.

Thank you again for contacting us about the CAA regulations.

Kind regards

Outdoors and Natural Resources Team

I fully expect absolutely nothing to change and I look forward to the conversations I’m no doubt going to have with NT & EH staff when I’m out and about when lockdown allows. I really am not one to instigate confrontation but any organisation or body overstepping their boundaries and remit is a real bug bear of mine :wink:



Well done Phil :+1:


I love how so many organisations blame the pandemic for lack of response! In other words they know they are wrong so they’ll file it away.


Exactly that. They’ll do diddly squat about it and hope any drone pilot that is confronted about flying over their land will land immediately and walk away with his tail between his legs.

Paying me lip service I know but I feel better for it :smiley:


The pandemic has been used as an excuse for poor service and suspension of services.

My favourite was when Eurostar pulled the plug on WiFi access for 2nd class passengers due to the pandemic. They quickly backtracked… arseholes!


It’s funny how people are still classed as “1st class” or “2nd class”, when in reality it’s the service that’s 1st or 2nd class!


Would it be possible to ‘pen’ an email to the NT?

Very similar to the above and then we could all send it to the correct email address.
The Ramblers association do something similar with regards to walking scenarios.


Nice work here @OldSoulBoy. Wouldn’t you think with most NT sites being closed at the moment and with people working from home , etc, etc they would be able to find time to respond in a more productive way rather than giving you the fob off!!!


Liking that idea FF. There must be someone on here who’s good at penning polite yet to the point letters. Not me, I just say it how I would say it. Not always the best policy :smiley:


If truth be told I didn’t expect anything else. Part of the problem is not being able to contact directly anyone other than mandarins who don’t want the agro and don’t have the clout to do anything anyway.

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I suppose they could request that their properties be marked as “requested restricted areas”…


I think the most they could ask for is for them to be designated ‘Fly With Caution’ areas which would mean all we’d need to do is request a Geozone unlock at each visit. Not the end of the world. I would imagine the CAA would base any request decision on actual risk to structures and people, not whether they like it or not lol…Unless the NT have 1000 plus people at one time in one location their properties are no different to your average high street, or so I would have thought.





Why can’t anywhere that doesn’t want you to use their land for takeoff & land simply put a link to the CAA drone page(s) and state you don’t have permission to use their land for such purpose?


That’s the simple solution but they’re doing nothing more than trying to protect what they perceive as their propietory rights on videos and photographs taken of their properties. The trouble is they haven’t moved with the times and changes in arial photography and the laws that govern them. far simpler to bury their collective head in the sand and rely of the drone flyers ignorance of the regulations that govern his hobby.


I think a lot of landowners are totally unaware of the new regs (as shown by the NT).
…and as for members of the public…
None of this however would have come about if people flying had been a bit more careful where they flew. I warned people after I retired ( having worked in CAA for 30 years) about the reaction that would come from the CAA when people flying ignored the rules in operation at the time. People laughed.
I doubt whether the CAA will lean towards fliers with the NT having the clout it has…


I’d like to think that any decision would be based on facts, figures and data although I take your point. If, and its purely hypothetical, the NT did try this and the CAA did side with their request that would make vast swathes of the UK countryside off limits. English Heritage would no doubt soon follow suit and together with the Church they collectively own 72% of all privately owned land in the UK.


…and the end result would be the rules as regards licence/registering/height etc would remain and flying would be consigned to designated approved flying areas (clubs). Be a damn shame as this would come about mainly through people who are not really model fliers but recipients of birthday gift or Christmas gift of a UAV and clueless.


Let’s hope it never comes to that. Hypothetical worse case scenario is that. Although saying that judging by some of the questions being asked on some of the various UK based Facebook pages I do wonder how some of these new drone owners manage to get out of bed unaided in the morning :smiley:


You should have met some of the private pilots I met during my career…( I wont mention some airline types)… :rofl: :rofl: