Starting this Wednesday, March 13th, it will be illegal to fly a drone within three miles of an airport in the UK, up from the 0.6-mile limit that’s currently in effect. The rule changes, which were first announced last month, more than quadruple the radius of each airport’s drone restricted airspace.
The new laws are in response to drone activity that effectively shut down the UK’s second-largest airport, Gatwick, for over a day in the run-up to Christmas last year. However, despite the incident affecting over 1,000 flights and as many as 140,000 passengers, police still don’t know who was responsible. In the aftermath of the incident, drone manufacturer DJI also announced tougher geofencing restrictions for its drones in Europe.
Later this year, the UK’s drone rules are set to change once again with measures announced prior to the Gatwick disruption. Starting this November, anyone who wants to fly a drone weighing over 250 grams (8.8 ounces) will need to take an online safety test and register with the country’s aviation authority. (A similar rule was introduced in the US in 2016.) Any UK drone owners who don’t register risk being fined up to £1,000.