Saturday, 22 December 2018

Droning on: ministerial complacency a real worry

Letter sent to Daily Telegraph:
Transport minister Baroness Suggs displays considerable complacency in her Commentary on drone dangers (“New rules and technology will help us stop malicious disruptions,” Daily Telegraph, December 21;

Over a year ago, responding to a question on drones from Baroness Randerson, she said”

“it is sometimes a challenge to link an operator to a drone. We are trying to help address that by introducing a registration system, and we are investigating electronic identification. We are looking at putting powers in the legislation for the police to require drone users to produce registration ID and documents and to land their drones, and to search for and seize a drone when there is reasonable belief that a crime has taken place. We very much hope that that will enable police to capture people who are misusing drones.” (Hansard, 17 November 2017;


A year earlier, another peer, Lord Harris, published his report for the London Mayor on terrorist threats, which included the following conclusion and recommendations:

the Civil Aviation Authority should, building on the work of the House of Lords review into the civil use of drones, ensure that the current legislation relating to the use of drones is suitable. Government should also explore technological options to improve the capacity to restrict drone use or disable them. (


Moreover, as Labour backbencher Paul Flynn MP raised in a question on drone risks in April 2016 in the House of Commons, there is also the spectre of a drone attack on critical energy infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants, in a question on drone risks, to be dismissed by the then Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin: “There is no complacency whatever from the Government on the use of drones.”( Hansard, 28 April 2016;


It seems he was wrong!

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