Use of drones (small, unmanned aircraft) is becoming more widespread in the UK. Police, fire and search and rescue services all now regularly use drones in emergencies to help save lives. Drones are used for inspecting the UK’s national transport infrastructure, helping to reduce accident risk and to improve productivity and efficiency.

For commercial purposes, drones can be very cost-effective for inspecting wind turbines, checking pipelines, assessing the condition of many types of buildings, inspecting roofs, hard to reach or unsafe structures or for surveying land. High-resolution aerial photography or video footage captured by drones can be used for mandatory reporting, providing evidence or highlighting specific areas needing attention, useful for insurance claims or confirming compliance with building regulations.

Using a qualified operator, drones can fly close to buildings and are often used where access may not be safe, appropriate or cost-effective. These drones must be at least 150 metres from congested areas, 50 metres away from people and cars and must not fly above 400ft.

Drones must only be used by CAA qualified operators and are subject to specific safety rules that are underpinned by UK law. Regulations are contained within Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO 2016) and there are some specific additional steps that must be taken if a drone is being flown for commercial operations.

  • Operators must have a licence even for one-off use and have CAA permission.
  • Permission must be renewed 30 days before the expiry date.
  • Drone insurance that’s EC Regulation 785/2004 compliant is a must-have and many leading insurers have specific drone policies.
  • All relevant permissions must be sought and given in advance so that any city or town areas, sites, and venues are aware of any drone activity that’s planned.

There’s also a new drone bill coming in which will make owners of drones weighing over 250g register them and safety awareness courses may be mandatory for all drone users.

If you’re looking to hire a drone for commercial purposes in the UK, our team at Nationwide Hire can advise you and help you decide what you need.  We keep businesses moving by taking responsibility for solving and avoiding plant, equipment and services problems. With a supplier network of over 9000 UK delivery locations accessing millions of products, we’re on hand to keep your business moving.

Construction, Shopfitting, Retail, Events – in any emergency, whatever the challenge, we get it sorted.

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