Illegal drone use sparks safety concerns at UK landmarks

Last updated on

May 31, 2018


The London Eye, the Angel of the North, and Stonehenge are just some of the beloved UK landmarks which are visited by millions of tourists annually. As visitors flock to these sites, many strive to capture a priceless photo or video souvenir of their experience to share with friends and family online or through social media. Thanks to advances in technology, many tourists are now also opting to bring along their drones. Simply to capture unparalleled images of these iconic sites from above, without knowing the rules in place.

However, the exponential rise in drone use, has created an unexpected problem for some of the UK’s best loved sites. While many drone users will be aware of the specific no-fly zone regulations surrounding many UK landmarks, and the potential security implications of launching at these sites un-permitted, some are showing a blatant disregard for the rules.

This worrying trend of launching drones irresponsibly in these public spaces, has led to major tourist attractions all expressing their growing concerns about the impact drones could have on security and safety.

Why are these measures put in place?

In recent years drone users have even appeared before courts and been heavily fined. This after illegally flying UAVs over packed football stadiums, the Houses of Parliament, and even Buckingham Palace.

The issue recently came to a head when it was revealed that drone incidents at Stonehenge had exceeded one per day. Site manager English Heritage are now forced to explore options to prevent drones from being flown at the landmark.

Even more concerning is Stonehenge’s close proximity to a recognised military training ground. This hosts a range of low flying aircraft, and numerous other training exercises throughout the year. This makes illegal drone flights, at this particular location, even more problematic. Irresponsible users may not just be jeopardising public safety, but their actions could also have serious consequences for aviation security.

Despite the significant dangers associated with using drones in a designated no-fly zone, this is not the first time this issue has arisen. There have even been sightings of drones being flown at some of the UK’s major airports, including Heathrow. This is in direct violation of aviation laws and could threaten the safety of countless passengers.

How can illegal drone use be prevented?

In a bid to curb this concerning trend impacting some of the UK’s most beloved landmarks, drone mitigation systems and drone detection systems have been introduced which could help to deter any unwanted aerial visitors. These work by detecting, identifying, and tracking any UAV or drone technology within the landmark’s airspace. This enable the sites to prevent any potential security or safety issues caused by illegal drone flights.

These detection systems work by non-invasively intervening with the drone’s controls to prevent it from entering the designated airspace. It is then re-routed back to its original take-off point where it can land safely.
Equally, technology such as AeroScope, can allow managers of attractions to detect drones from up to 12.5 miles away, giving them greater control over their airspace at an earlier stage.

Drone detection systems quite simply are the future. They can prevent major incidents from happening, and can save lives and injury. This is particularly in the case of Stonehenge and its close proximity to a military base. It’s hugely important air law is adhered to. It is also imperative that drone flyers understand drone laws, particularly with the new laws that have been put in place by the UK government. 

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