What You Need to Know About The UK Drone Owner Fee

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Drones have become commonplace in the skies above our heads. There are many new uses for them that are bringing us benefits, from delivering parcels to saving lives, drones are taking off.

As drone enthusiasts at Glover & Howe not only do we offer insurance policies with a specialist Photographer and Aviation Insurer, but we also keep up to date with news surrounding this exciting and growing industry.

What’s the proposed UK drone owner annual charge?

Strict new rules are potentially coming into force in November 2019 for drone operators.

Every operator of drones or model aircraft weighing between 250 grams and 20 kilograms in the UK could have to pay an annual charge of £16.50 and also be legally required to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Once registered, each operator will receive a unique code that must be applied to all drones that they are responsible for. All drone flyers will also be legally required to complete a free online safety test from November, whether or not they are the drone owner.

How many are expected to register?

The current number of drone users in the UK is unknown, but the CAA estimates that 170,000 people will register.

Only those aged 18 would be able to register as the official drone owner. There would be no fee for “remote pilots” – those who fly the drones but are not registered owners.

How does this compare to other countries?

New EU rules will mean that each member state will have to hold a national register of drone users from next year.

A similar registration scheme in France is free, in the US costs $5 (£3.84) and in Ireland costs €5 (£4.31). But the CAA says these schemes are part, or wholly, subsidised by the taxpayer.

The government has provided funding for the development costs of the new drone registration scheme, but the CAA said it would have to recover the expense of running, maintaining and updating it.

The regulator said it was keeping the charge “as low as possible” and that it may increase or decrease in future years, depending on the number who register.

How can I have my say?

The CAA is welcoming responses from those it could potentially affect and set-up an online consultation portal to allow you to submit feedback.

The consultation will close on 7th June, 2019.

We offer a transparent overview of our drone cover policies for commercial use only. Whether you’re a drone operator using it across film and media, we’re able to provide a comprehensive cover, giving you peace of mind.

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