Drone ban for Denbighshire would be "practically unenforceable"

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Denbighshire Free)

A bye-law banning drones from flying over all public spaces would be virtually unenforceable, according to a senior Denbighshire official.

In December county councillors backed a motion by Rhuddlan member Arwel Roberts calling for an investigation into the authority’s powers to regulate the use of the remote-controlled air craft.

He said he was concerned about the growth in popularity of drones and suggested that parks and beaches be considered as exclusion zones.

In a report to be considered on Thursay by the communities scrutiny committee the head of legal, HR and democratic services Gary Williams says that for any ban to be effective it would have to be en forceable.

“Merely passing a resolution banning drones would have no legal effect,” he says. The only way in which the council could bring a ban into legal effect would be to pass a byelaw to regulate the use of drones.”

He says the Air Navigation Order 2016 was made under the Civil Aviation Act 1982 to deal specifically with drones and contained strict controls over their use.

“It does not seem possible to further govern drones in flight (but) it may be possible to regulate the take-off or landing of drones from council-owned property.”

The UK government is currently carrying out a consultation on the safe use of drones for commercial purposes and leisure, and improving awareness of the law.

Mr Williams says that Welsh Government guidance states that councils should not adopt byelaws en bloc and should be satisfied that they are genuinely required to address a problem.

He adds: “There is a risk that any byelaw created in respect of this issue is, to all intents and purposes, practically unenforceable.”

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