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Kids’ drone ban plan over safety fears

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Children will only be allowed to own lightweight drones under proposals being considered by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Other measures would include giving police the power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to £300 for misuse and the ability to seize drones being used irresponsibly.

It follows growing concerns about the safety of drones and a dramatic increase in reports to police about their misuse.

A lightweight drone is considered to be one weighing less than 250g. Children would only be allowed to fly heavier ones, which can travel further and cause more damage, if they were owned and registered by an adult.

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DfT-funded research found that a drone weighing 400g could smash a helicopter windscreen, and one weighing 2kg could critically damage an airliner's windscreen.

New rules come into force next week banning drones from flying above 400ft, and within one kilometre (0.6 miles) of airport boundaries.

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In 2016 police forces recorded 3,456 complaints of drone misuse including rows between neighbours, prison smuggling, burglary "scoping" exercises and snooping fears.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg 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.

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"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."

The new DfT proposals will form part of a consultation process ahead of a draft Drones Bill due to be published later this year.

Original Article

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