All-Party Group urges government to use backbench Drone Bill to protect airports

Wednesday 9th January 2019.

All-Party Group urges government to use backbench Drone Bill to protect airports

The Government is being urged to give its full backing to tougher action to stop drones causing chaos at our airports.

The call follows the latest drone-sighting disruption at Heathrow on the 8th of January.

On Wednesday members of the All-Party Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA) called on the Government to back a Private Members Bill to regulate drone use.

The Drone (Regulation) Bill 2017-2019, tabled by APPG-GA member Peter Bone MP, has already had its First Reading. The Bill would regulate the purchase and use of drones to help prevent further incidents.

Mr Bone MP said: “Recent incidents at Heathrow and Gatwick show the clear need for greater regulation on drones.

“It is especially concerning that there seems to be no way to find the perpetrators and hold them to account. This Bill would help rectify that problem.”

The new Bill would require drone operators to register aircraft and ensure this information is displayed either physically or electronically. This would mean a drone being used to disrupt air travel could be quickly identified and its operator tracked.

Last month Gatwick was closed for 36 hours, causing massive disruption, due to repeated drone incursions over the airport.

As a result, the Government promised to create new legislation to give police extra powers and mandate the registration of drones.

However, no timetable was given for putting these measures in place.

APPG-GA Chair, Grant Shapps MP, wants the Government to back the Drone (Regulation) Bill as a mean of following through on its promise.

“There is a Bill already before the House of Commons that would enact exactly what the Government proposes.

“To avoid delaying these important measures, the APPG-GA hopes the Government will work with us to drive these measures through as quickly as possible.”

The Drones (Regulation) Bill is due for its second reading in February.

Mr Shapps said: “It is also important this regulation is carefully considered and not hastily enacted as a statutory institute.

“Our Bill offers the opportunity for proper parliamentary scrutiny without taking up any extra time in the schedule”.

The APPG-GA is an association of MPs and Lords who feel the aviation industry is vital to the UK’s economy and national interest. With a membership of 177 Parliamentarians, it is has the largest published membership of any all-party group.

Notes to Editors

1. For further information, please contact APPG-GA Head of Secretariat James Shipp at james.shipp@generalaviationappg.uk or on 0207 219 8497.