Parish Council Drone post

Our local parish Council just posted this on our village social media. Seems fair enough

We understand that there have been recent instances of drones flying over the village. We ask that operators ensure they are familiar with the regulations for flying drones. These are tightening this Spring but they include:

  • the drone must be kept in sight at all times;
  • it must fly no higher than 120m
  • it must not fly within 50m of a third party or a third party’s property;
  • it must not fly within 150m of a built up area.
    Thank you,
    Martin Newman
    Pluckley Parish Council

Hi Ian, long time no see :smiley:

Do you know if they have received complaints from local residents?

Seems fair to me too. I wish my local parish would also publish similar guidelines. I will be writing to them shortly and will reference this - can you please provide me with a direct link so I can quote the source?

Thanks - David.

Hi David

I cant post you a link because its on a closed group for the local community, this unhelpful reply appeared today

_Jim Bretherton, _
If you fly one over my garden, expect to lose it.

Makes you want to …
a) see how he’ll manage that, and
b) arrange for thousands to overfly his garden in relays for a whole day! Who’s free on Saturday? :wink:



OK - understand thanks anyway. I have written to my Parish Council and await their response:-

Dear Mrs X,

I am writing to you to ask for guidance on the recreational use of drones in our Parish.

I want to ensure that by abiding by the rules defined by the Civil Aviation Authority, and carrying personal liability insurance, I will not be breaking any local regulation or bylaw by flying over open farmland around the villages and pursuing my hobby of aerial landscape photography and drone flying. I am very well aware of peoples concerns about potential disturbance and privacy, as only bad stories are published in the press and there is general lack of public awareness about the rules and people make a lot of assumptions. I always fly safely and responsibly, performing risk assessments before each flight and with due consideration for the general public safety and privacy.

Regulation for the use of Drones in the UK is the responsibility of the CAA and are contained in the Air Navigation Order. Information for the public about drones (for people who don’t fly drones) as well as the details of the ANO are published by the CAA here:- They also publish a simple easy to understand aid to these regulations for flyers and the public in The Drone Code here:-

The rules will be changing shorty to align with EU later in the Spring which will include additional requirements, which may include the requirement for a recreational license and mandatory liability insurances, however these are only currently required for commercial operations, not hobbyists. As mentioned I have voluntary insurance £5M cover and am a registered member of FPF UK. FPV UK is the national governing body for radio control FPV and drone flying in the UK (FPVUK.ORG). When the new rules are ratified I will of course comply fully with the new laws.



I do sort of understand where people are coming from, and comments like this are generally down to a lack of knowledge coupled with a knee-jerk reaction to something new.

Clearly most people value their privacy. But, let’s face it, as a surveillance device, unless the person you want to spy on is as deaf as a post, the average drone is pretty damn useless. Coupled with most of us having a fixed wide angle focal length, and it’s a non-starter. Now it could be that Mr Bretherton is lucky enough to own a lot of land, but I’m guessing he’s more like the rest of us and whether we like it or not most of us have gardens that are overlooked by neighbouring properties. So the whole “you can see into my garden with a camera” objection is a moot point - yeah, but I I’ve been able to do that for years with a completely silent 800mm lens from my bathroom window.

I do think people think our aircraft are like the military grade spy zones featured in, say, Homeland, but of course that really isn’t the case.

Perhaps, of course, Mr Bretherton is trying to keep his amazing garden a secret before he opens later in the year for the NGS National Garden Scheme, in which case you’d have thought he’d be trying to angle for a free publicity aerial photo. Or maybe the Police would be very interested in an aerial photo.

I’d reply and explain that we can’t fly over built up areas anyway, the drone is noisy with a wide angle lens so is useless for spying, and as a pilot in the parish you’d be more than happy to hold a demo afternoon on the playing fields (or wherever is suitable) as long as anybody attends donates a couple of quid to parish funds.

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Dear X,

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
To: ‘David’
Subject: RE: Guidance on the recreational use of drones in the Parish

Dear David,

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.

Best wishes

Interesting correspondence there @Davo_101, thanks for sharing it :+1:

I might be missing something here, but does the local parish council have the authority to govern what goes on in the airspace above the land they own?

Thanks for your comments.

I don’t believe they have any authority over airspace, that clearly belongs to CAA, but they do have some powers over activities in the community. - Your authority on UK local government - Parish council responsibilities. I am sure an endorsement or clarification from them will be very helpful if not definitive. When I have their response I will contact the borough council and the police. The ‘officers’ who stopped me also referred me to the Parish Council so its a good a place as any to start.


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Sorry Areofoil - I appear to have hijacked your post :dizzy_face:

you carry on mate this is all useful intel


I think it’s always useful to draw comparisons with Hot Air Ballooning and Motorized Paragliding when talking about flying over properties in rural villages. Few people bat an eyelid when one of those flies over and realise straight away that they do’nt controi the air space.

I actually sold small framed aerial photos of the village and the local churches at our Open Gardens event, and gave the two local chuirches larger frmaed pictures of the churches . I’ve found once people actually see the pictures produced, not only do they realise how wide-angle the lens is, but they also get why we fly with the compeltely new perspective for them.

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Good point mate :+1: You never hear anyone getting their knickers in a twist when a hot air balloon sails(?!) by.

I’m all for converting people!

I’ve been approached a handful of times and I always go out of my way to offer to show them the screen. Nine times out of ten people are simply curious about something they don’t fully understand.

Last year a couple of kids walked by with their parents, young lad was probably ten or so and was very excitedly telling his mum and dad that it was a drone flying overhead.

I asked the kids if they’d like to see. Showed them the screen and brought the bird in a bit nearer and tilted the camera downwards and told them to wave. Kids thought it was the best thing ever, seeing themselves on the screen :slightly_smiling_face:

Mum and dad both said ‘thank you’ as they headed off (for making their kids day I think).

Four complete strangers seeing drones in a positive light in less than three minutes :+1:

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Exactly. I’ve always found people are won over the moment you show them what you’re seeing; A, because it looks great, and B, because they realise straight away it’s like spying long distance with your mobile phone… :smile:


Do you know where his house is in relation to the built up area of the village? If it stands alone (i.e. is not in the ‘congested area’) stick a copy of the Drone Code through his letterbox and circle this picture:


Then he can have no complaint if you were to legally fly over his house and garden (of course remaining 50m above the top of the roof)…

I know, I’m a petty troublemaker :smiling_imp:

Ive got no idea where he lives but if its in the village i guess that counts as a biolt up area?

Response received today!

Dear David

I apologise for the delay in responding to you.

I raised your query with council and it was agreed that we would recommend that all users of drones within the parish should adhere to the national guidelines, as per your earlier emails.

Whilst we do not have set rules for drone usage within the parish, we would not expect there to be any use of drones (or in fact any type of filming) within our recreation grounds, when there are likely to be children present.

I hope that this answers your query.

Best wishes