Drone use must be properly regulated to protect privacy, say landowners

28 September 2015

Landowners have called on EU regulators to update the rules in light of the dramatic growth in the use of drones carrying cameras by private individuals.

The European Landowners Organization (ELO) has put forward proposals to protect privacy without curtailing the industry. The proposals, which are in response to a European Aviation Safety Agency consultation, include:

  • the introduction of systems to enable simple identification of each drone in operation and its owner;
  • guidance for drone users on privacy expectations in relation to privately owned property and land; and
  • removal of non-commercial drones from the exemption from trespass or nuisance action in the UK, currently in place under the 76 Civil Aviation Act 1982.

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural business in England and Wales, is a member of the ELO.

CLA President Henry Robinson said: “Drone technology is already benefiting a wide range of industries, not least agriculture, and the potential here is very exciting.

“We support taking a light touch approach to regulation because it is important to allow the industry to develop. However the growth in the use of drones with high resolution cameras for leisure purposes presents a significant risk to privacy and requires swift action.

“We cannot rely on existing data protection regulations which are not easy to use to protect an individual’s privacy from a non-commercial drone operator. We have put forward workable proposals, and we will be pressing the relevant authorities in Europe and within the UK to address this issue.”