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​EU publishes new drone rules

The European Union has published new rules on drone use which will replace regulations in individual member states and give oversight to EASA.

As of June 2020, operators of drones will need to register in the member state where they reside or where they have their main place of business, says the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

Once authorised in one member state, both professional and recreational operators can fly their drones across the EU. This means they can travel with their drones or set up businesses that operate across the bloc.

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Falco Shield anti-drone kit installed at Gatwick

Peter MacDiarmid / Shutterstock / Rex

The rules lay out technical and operational requirements for different types of drone and use. They also include a requirement for new drones to be individually identifiable, so that authorities can trace them. EASA says this will help to prevent incidents such as when drone sightings halted flights at London Gatwick airport in December 2018.

"Europe will be the first region in the world to have a comprehensive set of rules ensuring safe, secure and sustainable operations of drones both for commercial and leisure activities," states EASA executive director Patrick Ky.

He adds: "Common rules will help foster investment, innovation and growth in this promising sector."

The new regulations enter into force in 20 days, but will only become applicable in one year, giving member states time to implement them.

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