Home Business NewsTech News The illegal drones flying above London… and the chair of the government’s drones committee who was “horrified” to discover Google Maps

The illegal drones flying above London… and the chair of the government’s drones committee who was “horrified” to discover Google Maps

23rd Oct 14 11:36 am

Drone footage can be breathtaking, capturing aerial views that you just can’t get any other way.

But Drones can also be illegal and dangerous.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) laws which protect people and property from the unmanned aircraft are being openly flouted.

The rules forbid operators to:

·         Fly over or within 150m (492 ft) of a congested area

·         Fly over or within 150m (492 ft) of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons

·         Fly within 50m (164 ft) of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft

·         Fly within 50m (164 ft) of any person

However, hundreds of YouTube drone videos show users doing exactly this.


Drone over London

They can weigh up to 20kg (3st) so if used irresponsibly they could seriously injure, and even kill.

The problem is, according to one entrepreneur who uses drones to film legally, they’re easier to obtain than ever before, costing as little as £30.

“They look like toys. For anyone buying one you feel like you’re flying a toy ‘copter when actually you’ve got a hazardous helicopter that can come down and injure somebody,” Jordan Brooks from Upper Cut Productions told the BBC.

The CAA said it would be launching a public information campaign soon. A spokesman told the BBC: “Ignorance is not a defence. The law [on drones] exists and has done for a long time.”

Drone committee chair “horrified” to discover Google Maps

Meanwhile, it has emerged Baroness O’Cathain, the chair of the House of Lords Digital Skills Committee, was “horrified” to discover “the other day” that Google Maps existed.

In a discussion about drones the Baroness seemed to be referring to the satellite image taken by Google for its Maps tool. She said: “I was horrified the other day when I was given a certain website to look at. I could see the roses in my garden. It was on a Google map or something, and I have no idea how it was taken. It was taken from up there. Obviously it was not a large aircraft, but this is happening. It did not fill me with a sense of security.”

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