GMB call for stronger licensing and safety laws for drone pilots
GMB Congress call on Government to adopt minimum drone operator age of 18 for all drone owners and for operators to register device with the Civil Aviation Authority and take online safety test
The closure of Gatwick following reports of drone activity underlined the weaknesses of the current security regime and the potential for malicious operators to target our members' places of work, says GMB London
GMB Congress has called on the Government to adopt a minimum drone operator age of 18 and for all drone owners and operators to register their device with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and take an online safety test. This comes following recent incidents of drones causing chaos in London airports, passengers left stranded and flights being suspended causing millions of pounds in costs.
Since the incidents at Gatwick and Heathrow airports, GMB have welcomed the Government’s extension of the exclusion zone around airports but feel rules on licensing need to include drones that weight less than 20kg. The union also feel the date in which drone operators have to register their device with the CAA and take an online safety test should be brought forward from 30 November 2019 to help deal with this immediate threat.
GMB have also called for stricter warnings on websites to stop drones being brought and operated by children and for drones to only be sold from reputable suppliers.
The 102nd GMB Congress, comprises of 500 elected lay members and 300 visitors and guests. GMB Congress delegates were elected from the GMB membership to represent over 640,000 members from every part of the UK and Ireland and every sector of the economy. Congress is the supreme policy making body in GMB.
Trevlyn McLeod, GMB Regional Organiser said:
“The closure of Gatwick following reports of drone activity underlined the weaknesses of the current security regime and the potential for malicious operators to target our members' places of work.
“Drones have developed so much so they have become a serious threat around airports, Heathrow being no different. If a drone is being operated around Heathrow it would be enough to bring it to a standstill. We have seen this at Gatwick and the chaos it caused then to passengers their families and our members who work at theses airports.
“We are calling for tougher measures regarding the buying and operating of drones around Airports. The damage they could cause and have caused at Gatwick is irreconcilable.”
Notes to Editors
GMB Congress Motion
411. LICENCING OF DRONES
This Congress understands that drones have caused chaos in London airports, passengers have been left stranded and flights have been suspended causing millions of pounds in costs. Also drones have the potential to endanger wildlife.
Since this incident, we welcome the Government’s extension of the exclusion zone around airports but the law needs to keep up with the times.
Currently drones less than 20kg in weight require no licence and we have to wait until November 30 2019 before drone operators will have to register their device with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and take an online safety test. Anyone failing to register or sit the competency tests could face fines of up to £1000.
The licencing and registration scheme should be applicable for ALL drone owners and operators who should obey civil aviation laws and undertake proper training with strict guidelines on where drones can be flown.
There needs to be strict warnings on websites to stop drones being brought and operated by children or they should be only sold from reputable suppliers.
We call on GMB to push the Government to adopting a minimum operator age of 18 and legislate on remote pilots.
AVIATION SECURITY BRANCH London Region