UK cockpit representatives believe new restrictions on using unmanned aerial vehicles near airports are insufficient to guarantee safety.

New laws entering effect on 30 July will restrict all drone from flying above 400ft and within 1km of an airport boundary.

The UK Department for Transport says it is introducing the changes after the number of drone encounters involving aircraft increased to 89 last year.

"While we want this industry to innovate and grow, we need to protect [aircraft], helicopters and their passengers from the increasing numbers of drones in our skies," says aviation minister Liz Sugg.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority says the changes "will help to achieve" a safer operating environment.

But pilot union BALPA says the restrictions are not adequate and "need to go much further", because aircraft could still conflict with drones within the permitted operating envelope.

Aircraft on a typical 3° glideslope would descend below 400ft while still 1.25nm (2.3km) from the runway threshold.

“We hoped we would see something similar to the regulations introduced in Australia, which state that unmanned operations must not be flown within 3nm of an airfield," says BALPA flight safety specialist Steve Landells.

He says the union is "not anti-drone" and accepts that laws should not be "too restrictive", but stresses that drones being used for non-commercial reasons have "no business being flown near an airport".

Source: Cirium Dashboard