*A variation of this story was covered by the The Times. You can read their article here.
I intend to bring forward new legislation aimed at providing a regulatory framework for the use of airborne drones. There have been a number of recent incidents which have raised safety concerns surrounding the use of drones.
Drones present many interesting opportunities for both personal and commercial use. For example, they can be a useful aid for farmers who are looking to monitor crop growth and check for the presence of pests. They can also be used for recreational purposes, such as taking aerial photographs of scenic areas or hobby flying.
At the same time, drones can present certain difficulties, and we are hearing an increased number of reports of drones causing problems for manned aircraft or infringing on people’s privacy. Some people have noticed drones seemingly surveying their farms and equipment. Given the prevalence of burglary in rural areas, it’s easy to see why this is threatening.
Earlier this month, we learned that there have been drone crashes at heritage sites around the country, raising concerns over their implications for monument protection. The Irish Airline Pilots Association has recently warned that near misses between passenger aircraft and drones are occurring on a near weekly basis.
The use of drones is forecast to rise considerably in the coming years so we need to put in place safeguards to deal with aircraft safety concerns, maintain safety and protect delicate heritage sites. PwC published a report earlier this year that predicts that the global commercial drone market will be worth $127Bn annually by 2020.
To address these concerns, I will be bringing forward legislation that will provide a stronger, more comprehensive regulatory framework for drones and their usage. This will be of considerable benefit to not only the public, but also to drone operators who are seeking guidelines on how to use their drones in a safe and ethical manner.