A number of my constituents have contacted me regarding the issue of drones in such close proximity to Heathrow and RAF Northolt. I asked the Secretary of State for Transport to let me know what steps his department was taking to ensure the safety of local residents.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps his Department has taken to protect people living in the vicinity of (a) Heathrow and (b) RAF Northolt from (i) drones and (ii) unmanned aerial vehiclesVirendra Sharma MP
A cross government working group led by the Department for Transport is undertaking a detailed analysis of the range of risks posed by drones. This work is ongoing and kept under constant review. Further work is now proceeding to capture and evaluate potential mitigation measures and strategies. Initial guidance on tackling the risks has been provided to constabularies across the UK. Work is also underway to qualify the specific level of risk posed by small drones to commercial air transport. We are talking to both the Civil Aviation Authority and airports to find technical solutions to the problems around airports, these include mandated geo-fencing or frequency jammers. The CAA has also worked with major drone manufacturers on the geo-fencing capabilities of their products, which has included providing a list of locations such as airport control zones.
Robert Goodwill MP
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on public safety of placing the regulation of (a) drones and (b) unmanned aerial vehicles within the purview of the Civil Aviation Authority.Virendra Sharma MP
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the independent statutory authority responsible for regulating civil aircraft, including RPAS and small drones. However, the Department recognises that there are types of offenses relating to drones that are not aviation specific or pose an aviation risk and are more social, so the degree to which the CAA should be involved is currently under review. We are currently developing a Memorandum of Understanding between the DfT, the CAA, the Home Office and Police to better establish where responsibility lies for enforcing breaches of drone related regulations.
Robert Goodwill MP