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

Views: 1512

Comment by John on March 9, 2015 at 9:04am
As they should be. Any responsible drone pilot wouldn't fly there anyway with the people density and the perceived security threat.
Comment by lot on March 9, 2015 at 9:09am

But what about toy quadcopters? They are harmless and parks are a good starting point to learn.

Comment by Tobias Witting on March 9, 2015 at 9:14am

That really sucks. I haven't seen any news stories about any "Drone-abuse" in London's parks.

Comment by Crispin on March 9, 2015 at 9:21am

I wholeheartedly agree - the problem is that whenever you are able to buy something that requires little investment in time, skill and money you are going to get irresponsible people. The downside to this is the authorities start bowing to public pressure and hysteria which then mucks it up / makes it harder for us all.

Comment by Crispin on March 9, 2015 at 9:28am


No, you're right. I've not seen anything either. Just the bigger stories about LHR and STN which got some coverage.

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....

Comment by Gary McCray on March 9, 2015 at 9:49am

I am really afraid that this is going to be just a part of a bigger trend, easier to outlaw it than regulate it.

And now that quadcopter sales are literally exploding, the banning trend is likely to explode as well.

It really isn't about RC planes anymore, that was always a small and conscientious group, this new accessibility is basically opening "drones" (Quadcopters) up to the completely unaware and uninitiated general public.

On the plus side, we (the drone intelligensia perhaps) will have opportunities to communicate with the regulating bodies and perhaps achieve some accommodation and also to communicate with the general public the need for and how to behave responsibly.

My dronesarefun.com sites lean heavily to responsible behavior.



Comment by Fnoop on March 9, 2015 at 10:46am

Even speaking as a drone-head, this is inevitable, inarguable and absolutely the right thing to do.  Have you been to a london park?  They are crammed full of people, even on a rainy day you'd be hard pressed to satisfy any of the CAA non-commercial requirements.  This is a really good thing for the drone community, otherwise with the proliferation of phantom impulse-buy-and-try-to-fly-within-a-lunchtime, it is when and not if a major accident would occur that would seriously harm or kill someone and have far greater consequences for the community.  Not to mention these spaces are the last bastion of relative calm and tranquility within one of the world's busiest cities, hundreds of buzzing dones is not conducive to calmness :)

Comment by Tobias Witting on March 9, 2015 at 11:26am

@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.

Comment by Tobias Witting on March 9, 2015 at 11:33am

@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.

Comment by Crispin on March 9, 2015 at 1:07pm

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...



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