Farmers call for tougher laws on drones


25 January 2017

By Keri Constantatou

In a recent article by Farmers Weekly farm leaders are demanding stricter rules on the use of drones in the wake of booming Christmas sales and the launch of a government consultation.

While on-farm use has many potential benefits and should be protected for professional purposes, the NFU explained farmers and their livestock are particularly vulnerable to the irresponsible use of drones by members of the public.

“Drone use on farm is multi-dimensional and we will communicate to government the advantages this can have for farmers,” said NFU vice-president Guy Smith.

“There are exciting developments in the pipeline, such as crop applications, which could keep British farming at the cutting edge and internationally competitive.

“However, we are also very aware of instances of irresponsible use of drones by members of the public and have already seen the first instances of sheep worrying by drones.

“We are calling for government to address this and are hopeful that any legislation will introduce measures to protect farmers and landowners.”

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has also called for tighter rules to address concerns over privacy while flying drones over residential properties and private land.

“The growth in the availability of drones with high-resolution cameras for leisure use, rather than industry, presents a significant risk to privacy and requires action,” said CLA president Ross Murray.

“We need reassurance that drones being flown over private property or land are being done so legally, professionally and safely.

“We must also address the potential for damage to property and injury to livestock.”

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The above is not legal advice; the article was first published by Farmers Weekly and is intended to provide information of general interest about current farming issues.