House of Lords EU Committee discusses need for regulations at EU level...

House of Lords EU Committee discusses need for regulations at EU level for civil use of drones

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UK, October 14, 2014: On 13 October the House of Lords EU Committee held its first evidence session for investigating the need for regulations at EU level for the civil use of drones. The committee was formed as result of the growing use of UAV and UAS in Europe, including in countries such as Sweden, France and the UK, to check for damage to road and rail bridges, monitor natural disasters such as flooding and to spray crops with pinpoint accuracy. The committee noted that while basic national safety rules apply to the use of drones, rules differ across the EU and a number of key safeguards are not addressed in a coherent way.

During the session, government officials from the Department of Transport, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, gave evidence and answered questions on safety, EU regulation, economic benefit and national security. The witnesses of the session included Paul Cremin, Head of UK Aviation Safety, SAFA & Permits Branch, Department for Transport; Adam Simmons, Deputy Director, International Aviation Safety and Environment, Department for Transport; and Andrew Horton, Senior Technical Policy Advisor, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The inquiry by the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on the Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment is looking at the civilian use of drones in the EU, and expects to report back by early 2015.

"The rise of civilian use of drones across the EU is staggering. In the UK alone the number of permissions granted for civilian use of drones in congested areas went up forty-fold between 2006 and 2013. No wonder that the RPAS industry has been described as one of the most dynamic aerospace markets of the 21st Century,” Committee Chairman Baroness O'Cathain said.

"However, with this increase comes a raft of issues that need to be addressed, such as whether safety considerations are and should be standard across Europe and whether they need to be changed; the issue of correct controls being in place to protect European citizens' privacy and data; and if the European industry can become a global leader. Nevertheless, we must remember that too much regulation too early will kill off the industry in its infancy,” he added.

The European Commission has been discussing since 2012 how to regulate the operations of RPAS in the EU. It also published a statement on 8 April 2014 setting out its ideas on how European industry can become a global leader in the market for this emerging technology.

Source: UK Parliament