UK law on flying in your local park & over private land

In “Lame Man’s Terms” what does the law state in regards to flying recreational SUAVs/drones in UK local parks & private land? I ask because I came across a USA ruling over such an issue (refer to the video link above). I know the laws are different across the pond but I just thought, “what if the laws are the same or similar?” What rules & laws can the local councils & land owners apply & enforce legally pertaining to our hobby? What are my rights as a recreational drone flyer?

I have flown in different public parks in Derby and had 2 encounters with the park rangers. The first ranger was pretty intrigued & asked a lot of questions. He did not mind me coming to fly around this particular park.

My 2nd encounter was in a different park where the ranger asked me to stop flying immediately & that I need to attain permission to fly from the council. She did not know which department deals with this matter and said just to call & I will be directed to the right person to talk to.

If they had any rules on this then they would have sign posted them at all the entrances like the dog shit rules which they never enforce. I will try to contact them probably next week to enquire. I would like us to make a list of questions before contacting them so if you have any that you want me to ask please post them & I will jot them down.

When it comes to privately owned land like National Trust sites, flying is banned by the Trust but surely they just own the land & not the airspace above it. I feel as long as you take off & land elsewhere you should be able to fly over their land unless the CAA have sanctioned the airspace above that particular land.

When I go to fly in these parks I always do a risk assessment & try to be as responsible as I can & stick to the flying guidlines issued by BMFA. I make sure there is a minimum amount of people before flying as shown in the attached images. The best time is when the kids are in school, you tend to share the park with a miniscule number of dog walkers who (from my experience) are generally pleasant.


Have a look here for an EASA document that may make things clear.

Parks could be interpreted as a recreational area and could have restrictions that may require additional permissions not only from local authority but also from the CAA.


I created a similar thread asking the same thing.

Depending on the time of day, parks can become a congested areas and we shouldn’t be flying.

I put it down to a rule of thumb being: if there are no restrictions via NATS, no restrictions by the council or local bylaws prohibiting the use of drones and the park is empty or near enough and far away from people with an operator to handle them - then I deem that safe to fly.

Usually the councils have a blanket ban on the use of drones in parks. One I went to recently, the council said you can fly in it as long as you stick to the drone code. Turned out a film crew was there the day before me using it.


I have had no negative feedback , from flying in my local park , in fact the I have found the opposite true . flying when the area is nearly empty is also the best way to go.


Your local park is private land, just the same as the National Trust or almost everywhere else.

If your council has a policy against drone use, then you’re trespassing on their land if you fly without permission, they can ask you to leave. You can’t normally be arrested for trepass.

If they have a bye-law of a PSPO (Public Spaces Protection Order) prohibiting drone use, they can involve the police and you can be arrested.

As always, if you fly discretely when few people are around, and comply with the Drone Code, in practice you are very unlikely to have many problems.


Everyone owns the airspace above their land. However, if you fly at a reasonable height so as not to cause serious disturbance, that’s a legal defence against trespass. If you fly low and cause disturbance, the landowner can, in theory, sue you for nuisance trespass.

The National Trust has bye-laws in place which mean you can, in theory, be arrested if you fly low enough to cause disturbance or annoyance, and which prevent commercial photography while on their property.

Again, in practice, if you fly outside NT property opening hours at a sensible height, you are not likely to get into any bother.


The last time I was out flying at the edge of a park an old couple came over and wanted me to show them how it worked and wanted me to take a photo of them so they could see the quality. I’ve been lucky I suppose but then in the north of England in general I don’t expect as much hassle from people if you are flying responsibly. Although most times I go to the coast and fly it out to sea so nobody can really moan.


Much friendlier


Can’t fly in, around or over parks :thinking:

Only in America


im in the north and am lucky there are no restrictions in force apart from the code,


But can still be arrested.

(a) If five oh can be arsed turning out
(b) They can find you

Happy flying everyone, soon be springtime ;o)


I’ll second that, here’s to a good Summer !.


if an official, who is representing a landowner, for example a park ranger or NT ranger, is approaching anyone flying a drone, or other activity which the ranger says is banned by order of the council etc then they MUST be able to quote and on request be able to produce the relevant order which specifically bans the activity. There are a lot of people who put up signs saying drones are banned or demanding money in order to fly yet without the rule being passed through the legislative system of the council, any ban is then non enforceable and the ranger or whoever could face prosecution themselves for harassment or demanding money under false pretences. It is up to us to demand to see the relevant copy of the legislation and not just some jobsworth pointing to a sign and saying you “can’t fly ere matey”.
I encourage everybody to stand up for your rights and not be intimidated by a ranger.
I did exactly that last week when I was approached and was told I was flying illegally. I hovered my drone, produced my CAA registration details and asked under whose authority they were acting on and what specific banning order for the area I had taken off and was flying around that they were quoting. They answered that they thought I might not be registered as they’d heard on social media that a lot of flyers haven’t registered and thought they’d challenge me. I understood their concerns but they had no authority to challenge me and certainly no bloody clue either.
Oddly enough their attitude totally changed when I produced my registration details. Rather than combative, they were friendly and apologetic.


Exactly Brian.

The question should always be what law or act within the law am I allegedly breaking.

Practice your answer for when they reply public nuisance, causing alarm, harassment and distress (it’s the new snowflake catch all)


Indeed, but unless you’re causing annoyance or disturbance, no charges under the NT by-laws will stick.

I always tell (whoever it is) to wait until I have landed my drone, then I will talk to them (I will totally ignore them ,until that has happened).

They are in breach of CAA Regulations by interrupting you, while in charge of an aircraft.
I have had people in the past, who say “Land your drone straight away” (in a not very friendly voice!)
That’s fine if it is only a few feet away, but if it is at distance then you require time to move your drone into a safe zone ,and land.
You have the right to warn anyone who comes into your flight area to stop, as they are entering a Flying area, and you are not in direct control of them.
This is why you should be constantly vigilant of people that may be in your immediate area.


If they represent the landowner and you are standing on their land, they don’t need any laws or orders, they can simply declare you a trespasser and demand that you leave (in England or Wales). There is very little truly public land, most of what is called public land is private, owned by public bodies, and legally they can kick you off with very little recourse. Scotland, of course, is much more sensible about all this.


Written by a real life dog owner I can tell :rofl:

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Plan B


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