• Use of drones (unmanned aircraft) is rising for both recreational and commercial applications, with the British Airline Pilots Association recording 117 near misses between aircraft and drones in the UK between January and November 2018.
  • This POSTnote will update PN 479 on Civilian Drones. It will consider current and future uses of drones as well as their regulation. It will consider the role they could play in enforcement and look at anti-drone technologies and their associated technical challenges.
  • Work on this POSTnote has been completed. You can read the published report online. Updated 17 January 2020.

The use of drones (unmanned aircraft) is increasing for both recreational and commercial applications. The British Airline Pilots Association recorded 117 near misses between aircraft and drones in the UK between January and November 2018. Between 19–21 December 2018, 115 witnesses reported drone sightings at Gatwick Airport, which resulted in flights being suspended for 36 hours. This incident has renewed debate about the potential risks that drones may present for safety, security and the economy, as well as the adequacy of existing controls to tackle illegal or harmful drone use.

This POSTnote will update PN 479 on Civilian Drones (2014). It will consider current and future uses of civilian unmanned aircraft, including their role in criminal activities. It will provide an overview of the legislation and regulation governing drone operation in the UK and consider the role that technology could play in enforcement. It will also include an overview of anti-drone technologies and their associated technical challenges.