Thank you so much for your prompt and helpful response.
As you will raise this issue on Monday I want to take the time provide you with some additional information, which I believe is relevant to this matter. Please excuse the length of this e-mail.
Recreational use of radio controlled model aircraft has been around for a very long time. Available equipment over the years has been very basic and the learning curve long. Recent advances in drone technology however have made this pass time relatively easy, affordable, accessible and much more safe, and there is now a massive exponential global consumer adoption underway. The new rules which will be introduced in the Spring will be a clear government response to this, recognising the need to be clear for everyone and have less ambiguity.
The equipment I operate is very sophisticated and provides the operator with redundant flight and navigation components (GPS, IMU etc.) in case of most types of equipment failure. Detailed flight telemetry information - flight path, height, speed, status of the systems etc. is automatically recorded and logged and can be examined later for compliance with the regulations. These types of machines carry the leading edge of technology and are very safe - the built in GPS and software will disable the vehicle in restricted/prohibited airspace. This wont of course mitigate the actions of an irresponsible operator or operator error. Operator error can be mitigated by having the appropriate insurance. Irresponsible operators should be penalised by enforcement of the law.
Police awareness of the appropriate laws are currently limited/confused and these is sometimes an assumption that drones are prohibited nearly everywhere, when in fact the complete opposite is true. Overflying private property is allowed (at the appropriate height/distance specified by the CAA regulations) unless there is a specific prohibition or bylaw. In any case, if asked by a police officer or a member of the public to stop flying somewhere, I would immediately retrieve the aircraft and land, to discuss their concerns. It is not in my interest to be a nuisance.
The onboard camera has a fixed focal length and a wide angle lens which means that it is great for landscape views, but would not capture clearly identifiable images of people in their gardens if flown at the 50m distance defined in the CAA rules. While in flight an image is sent to the controller to assist in photo composition and to provide the operator with telemetry in flight. While recreational drones may also be perceived to be a noise nuisance, in actual fact it is only when directly below the aircraft or within the 50m radius that the sound becomes loud (like lawnmower). The speed and pitch of the rotors may sometimes make it appear to be louder in certain conditions.
As in every walk of life there will be some inherent risks and when access is so readily available there will be some irresponsible users. Those that will not follow the rules, not ask for permissions, not carry insurance and fly unsafely in inappropriate conditions etc. These violations should of course be strongly enforced, they are good for no one. The majority of users will have made a significant investment in their equipment and will act responsibility to promote their passion and maintain their access to this exciting new and fulling activity.
I would be very happy to meet with the Council and provide an appropriate demonstration if there is any uncertainly about any of these concerns, and to answer any questions. There is so much beautiful countryside in our Parish which I would like to be able to capture, experience and share with the community.
I look forward to hearing from you again next week.
Thank you again and best regards, David.
From: PPC Clerk
Sent: 15 March 2018 10:47
Subject: RE: Guidance on the recreational use of drones in the Parish
Thank you for your interesting email.
We have a council meeting on Monday night and I will raise the question then. However, I am not aware of any Parish Council rules relating to drones.
We have conditions of use for the recreation ground which focus mainly on respecting our neighbours and other users of the parks and I imagine it is that kind of condition we would put in place if we were to draw up rules of use within the parish.
I will respond further after the meeting.