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Droning on about safety and insurance

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones, are becoming increasingly popular as the commercial opportunities that they offer are explored.  Commercial applications are increasingly evident in such diverse areas as property sales, media and broadcasting, agriculture, delivery, surveying, monitoring and inspection services.

Written on 30th August 2018

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones, are becoming increasingly popular as the commercial opportunities that they offer are explored.  Commercial applications are increasingly evident in such diverse areas as property sales, media and broadcasting, agriculture, delivery, surveying, monitoring and inspection services.

Used correctly, drones can also offer major benefits for health and safety for example by removing the need for people to work at height, carrying out inspections of hard to reach equipment, improving the search part of search and rescue, monitoring emissions and controlling the spraying of chemicals in agriculture.

However the use of drones does also raise some concerns including noise, privacy, security and safety issues. A drone colliding with something that was not designed or intended to withstand such an impact, for example a person, could have devastating consequences.

Irrespective of their size, drones are still classified as aircraft and the person in charge of operating the controls of an unmanned aircraft is referred to as the pilot. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will not allow an unmanned aircraft to present or create a greater hazard to anyone (or anything) than the equivalent operations of manned aviation. The CAA regulation of unmanned aircraft is restricted to safety considerations and does not regulate any wider issues, such as privacy, or nuisance.

At the end of May the Department for Transport announced new rules restricting all drones from flying above 400 feet and within 1km of airport boundaries. These rules came into effect on 30th July 2018.

Other new rules which come into force on 30th November 2019 will require owners of drones weighing 250g or more to register with the Civil Aviation Authority and take an online safety test. You can find out more about these regulations on the Gov.UK website.

As with all new technology the Insurance market adapts to respond to new risks.  Policies offering physical loss, third party injury and damage with enhanced coverage for invasion of privacy, noise liability, operators indemnity and operators liability are now available for companies operating drones.

If you would like to discuss drone insurance please speak to your usual Franklands contact.

 

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