Drones are now banned from London's Royal Parks


If you live in London, it can be difficult to find a wide open space that's suitable for practising your drone-flying skills. The capital's eight Royal parks are an obvious choice, but now aspiring pilots will have to look elsewhere -- staff have recently posted notices that strictly prohibit the use of drones and model aircraft inside the grounds.

It's a sad day :(

I wonder how many numpties it took to bring this about or if they're just following the US and National Parks idea.

I wonder if it will become toxic and councils will start implementing the same idea.

-- Crispin

My other life: Drone Imagery

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  • previously there was no ban in any of the parks.

    R'mond park has a dedicated RC flying site. The sign in the middle of this flying field is hilarious. It still talks about control lines... Also there is an officially marked out RC flying field at Wormwood scrubs.

    I find the masses of pooping dogs more annoying than quadcopters to be honest. Talking about disturbing wildlife... dogs should only be allowed on leads.

  • I went on to this site https://www.royalparks.org.uk/park-management/park-regulations-and-...

    Couldn't find anything about not flying drones other than in Richmond Park. Flying any model aircraft is permitted at a specific site at Richmond.

    There were a number of UK newspaper articles referencing the notices that have been posted. 


  • Was it previously permitted to fly model aircraft in these parks?  My sense is that in many places there are rules on the books dating back to when "RC aircraft" meant a medium-sized fixed wing plane with a loud, smoky, fire-hazard, seriously-injured-if-the-prop-hit-you gas engine.  Of course you didn't want those things flying in ordinary parks.  But those rules still stand, even if they make zero sense if you applied then to someone flying  a 50g micro quad in a park (on a very still day, of course.)f

    Today, though, you have enough people with the mindset that an multirotor is "creepy" that people "in charge" would rather ban than try to explain to the kooks that it's a reasonable use of a public recreation space.

  • "Drone or modelaircraft" - textually. No any questions ....

  • By order of Security of State - mi5 lol

  • Crispin: Londons royal parks are basically national parks inside the city. Its not really fitting that people disturb all that wildlife with machines.

  • Certainly wouldn't want any distractions in the CCTV cams views. /s

  • I think the answer would be to try an lobby the local authorities for a space to fly. I recently went flying with a friend who lives near Twickenham - the local common there has a swath through the middle of it which is a flying club on Sundays. Everyone knows this so when you do go fly there on a Saturday or midweek, they give you a wife birth. There are also very few people who come and talk to you which is handy.

    As for flying in parks, I have flown in St Albans Verulamium Park on quiet days. There are massive tracks of land towards the back where there are no people. The keepers saw me, came and had a chat, and that was that. I think there is a lot to be said for being an idiot or looking like you might be dangerous and out of control. You'll get pulled up and asked to leave.

    As for flying in parks in London - you're right, it is "quiet time" and the buzz of a low-flying quad is going to annoy someone as much as someone else's boom-box turned up.

    If the trend continues, and, sorry to say, as long as Maplin and fleabay sell these things to the masses unchecked, the trend will continue, the overzealous keepers and councils will put a stop to it.

    So, that leaves us with nowhere to fly. Oh, like the RC plane and heli guys have always had. See, they have always a bit of a stretch but you get my point) had to fly in local clubs. "We" think "we're" special because they are common and you can basically buy them from Tesco...


  • @Fnoop, I agree that some parks in the centre are certainly not the best place to fly and I would never try it. Again, if one simply applies the already existing CAA rules, everything is fine and there is no need for a blanket ban. There are also larger parks in London. E.g. Richmond Park is almost 4 square miles with plenty of very empty space.

  • @Crispin, "Not sure I disagree with it though - if I was sitting with my family in a park and something like a Phantom kept going overhead I would object. If that landed on my or my daughter's head there would be hell to pay...." I fully agree to that. On the other hand we already have a full set of CAA regulations, e.g. prohibiting flying near people. So if someone does not obey these rules they can already be prosecuted. 

    In my view a blanket ban is just a bit over the top. Why are we not banning HGVs in London? They are actually killing tens of cyclists every year.

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