Exclusion zone set for Doncaster Sheffield Airport after drone reports

 A drone exclusion zone is set to be expanded around Doncaster Sheffield Airport after reported sightings of the flying devices caused chaos at other airports. Â

Thursday, 10th January 2019, 9:40 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:44 am
Drone usage has surged

About 1000 flights were cancelled over the festive season at Gatwick Airport and departures were temporarily suspended at Heathrow on Tuesday 

after drones were reportedly sighted close to the runways.  

Drone usage has surged

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The Government announced this week it is planning to expand drone exclusion zones five-fold at all UK airports as part of a wider consultation on the issue of the devices near runways.

Bosses at Doncaster Sheffield Airport said they are fully behind the additional safety measures.

An airport spokesperson said: 'We fully support the government's proposal to the extend the current Air Traffic Zone around airports from 1km to 5km (3.1 miles) radius, with additional extensions from runway ends and will act upon the recommendations as soon as the consultation is complete and recommendations become legislation.'

Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

This will be in addition to other measures already in place to prevent drones from flying into air space at the Finningley-based airport.

The spokesperson added: 'Doncaster Sheffield Airport has procedures in place for both known and uncontrolled drone operations in compliance with Civil Aviation Authority guidelines.

'The airport controlled airspace is geo-fenced within software typically installed in drones by the manufacturers, which means it would either not be able to take off, or if it entered a geo-fenced area it would return to the place it took off from.

'The use of drones has not caused a problem for us but we do urge people to continually ensure they make themselves fully familiar with the CAA guidelines and air navigation orders and operate their drones responsibly in sensible places.

'There are a number of recognised clubs locally that people can join to operate their drones safely.'

In addition to plans to expand the drone exclusion zone, police will also be given new powers to curb the dangerous use of the devices. 

Under new legislation officers will be able to force a drone to land, then seize and search it. Those who don't comply will be liable for a £100 on the spot fine.

The Home Office will also begin work on new technologies which can detect and repel drones around sensitive sites such as airports and prisons.

Finally, from November anyone operating a drone will be forced to register and take an online test to prove their ability to safely fly the devices. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, the transport secretary Chris Grayling said the recent incidents have 'reinforced the fact it is crucial our regulatory and enforcement must keep pace with rapid technological change.

'When caught, those responsible should face the maximum possible custodial sentence.'