In July 2017 the government released proposals to regulate the use of drones in the United Kingdom (for further details please see "Necessary regulation or the government droning on?"). Since then, the regulation of drones has been transferred to the European Union and now falls under the EU Basic Regulation (2018/1139), which came into force on 11 September 2018.(1)

Prior to the adoption of the EU Basic Regulation, drones that were lighter than 150kg and operated in the United Kingdom were under the jurisdiction of the UK authorities, but operators and manufacturers were subject to differing design and safety requirements from elsewhere in the European Union.

The EU Basic Regulation aims to create a common regulatory framework for the manufacture, design and operation of drones. Many of the UK government's proposals for drone operators are included in the EU Basic Regulation, which sets the groundwork for establishing rules that will require operators of drones that weigh 250kg and above to register them and ensure that they are marked for identification. The new rules will clarify that:

  • drones must be used in a way that does not put people at risk; and
  • operators must know the rules governing their flights and demonstrate the ability to operate a drone safely.

For further information on this topic please contact John Pearson at Vedder Price LLP by telephone (+44 20 3667 2900?) or email ( The Vedder Price LLP website can be accessed at


(1) The EU Basic Regulation does more than introduce a new regulatory framework for drones, but this was one of the principal reasons behind its introduction.

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