Tough new UK drone laws come into force today - and you could face huge fines for breaking them

Drone usage has surged
Drone usage has surged
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New laws on flying drones come into force today and you could be jailed for breaking them.

The government announced a raft of new rules for UK drone users amid fears over aviation safety.

Drones are becoming used more and more frequently and the rules are set to address the misuse of the appliance.

The updates to the Air Navigation Order include new height and boundary restrictions with tough penalties for any breaches.

Those breaching restrictions will face penalties of up to £2,500 and could also face criminal convictions.

Users could be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft.

If found guilty of this charge, drone users could face 5 years in prison.

Under the new laws, drones weighing over 250g will need to be formally registered; affecting the majority of drone users.

Drone pilots must present their registration documents if requested by the police or face a £1,000 fine.

All drones weighing between 250g and 7kg can also only be flown up to 400ft.

Drone pilots now have to take a safety test before they're allowed to fly or, again, face a £1,000 fine.

If a pilot carries out illegal activity, police can seize it and any memory cards.

The pilot must also present registration documents if police ask to see them.

Drone users have to use apps to plan their flights to make sure they are not entering unsafe or no fly zones.

Geofencing will now also be implemented to help drone users know if they're close to a no-fly area.

Finally, drones must not fly within 1km of any airport's boundaries.

The Government will also consult on new measures to prevent the misuse of drones, including on-the-spot dines and the ability to seize them if necessary.

The measures in the consultation are part of a wider programme of new drone legislation and will shape the content of a draft Drones Bill due to be published later this year.

Proposed measures includes fixed penalty notices, introducing counter-drone technology and minimum age restrictions.

Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister, said: "Drones present exciting benefits to our society and our economy, but with a small group of people choosing to use them for harm there are challenges we must overcome if we are to prevent them hindering the potential of this technology.

"That’s why we’ve already introduced safety measures like a height limit, and rules around airports, and today we are consulting on how we go further, including extra police powers and a minimum age requirement."