,

🛫New Drones Law in Europe🛫

On July 1, 2019, the set of specific European rules for Unnamed Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones, came into force. These rules set out the general principles for ensuring safety, protecting privacy and safeguarding the environment. Let’s see what are the main changes for manufacturers and users.

1. Why a new regulation?

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 & Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, have been published to ensure drone operations across Europe are safe and secure.

The common rules will help drone operators, whether professional or recreational, to have a clear understanding of what is allowed or not. At the same time it enables them to operate across borders. Once drone operators have received an authorisation in the state of registration, they are allowed to freely circulate in the European Union. This means that they can operate their drones seamlessly when travelling across the EU or when developing a business involving drones around Europe.

In recent years there has been an exponential development of drones with reference to both the technology available and the possibilities of use. Initially exploited in the military field, today drones are within everyone’s reach, and are increasingly used for recreation and leisure time.

But it is in the commercial field that we find the maximum variety of purposes for which a drone can be used: filming in movie sets, outdoor light shows (as an alternative to traditional fireworks), search and rescue operations, field watering, window cleaning in height and delivery in a short time, are just some of the activities that currently see the use of drones in different countries of the world, and thanks to the versatility of these machines the development of new models and areas of application proceeds rapidly.

In England, for example, researchers are developing drones capable of independently inspecting and repairing holes in the streets. And in the near future, drones will certainly be used for public transport, as the “Urban Air Mobility” project supported by the European Union, which is encouraging private initiatives for the creation of “flying taxis”, and which already has Audi and Airbus as partners.

As a fact, according to the European Commission, the drones industry could create about 150,000 jobs in the EU by 2050.

In this scenario, a significant number of national aviation authorities have started issuing new aviation safety standards to regulate the use of drones in national airspace. However, to ensure legal certainty and consistency across the EU and in the design of a “Single European Sky”, the European Commission proposed on 7 December 2015 a revision of the EU legislative framework to be ready for the challenges beyond 2020. The result of this proposal was the Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, thanks to which the European Union can regulate the civil operations of all types of drones, gradually replacing the national regulations on civil operations of drones weighing less than 150 kg.

Recital 26 of the Regulation expressly states that, since drones use the same airspace as manned aircraft and are equipped with technologies that make a wide range of operations possible today, they must be subject to the same general rules on civil aviation regardless of their mass.

2. What do the new rules say? Privacy and environmental protection obligations

Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 sets out the general principles for ensuring security, protecting privacy and safeguarding the environment.

These rules are proportionate and risk-based, designed to reduce constraints and encourage innovation. For example, sport and recreational aviation, including so-called model aircraft (recreational drones), is subject to simplified procedures compared to those applicable to commercial air transport. On the other hand, operations with high-risk drones are more burdensome for operators.

To ensure safety, the Regulation states that all drones must be controllable and manoeuvrable in total safety and never put people at risk. For example, drones must be equipped with collision avoidance systems.

In addition, all drones should be designed taking into account a privacy by design and by default approach. The risks to privacy and data protection are essentially related to the availability on the UAS of cameras or other sensors that are able to record personal information. As pointed out by the Article 29 Working Party (now known as the European Data Protection Board), the risks are increased by the lack of transparency, due to the difficulty of being able to see the drones from the ground and to know for what purposes the images are taken and especially by whom.

Therefore to protect privacy, and more generally in order to identify offences and violations, the Regulation provides that the drones’ pilots shall be registered in national registers and drones shall be registered in electronic databases that are easily accessible.

To guarantee the protection of the environment, new limits are placed on the noise and emissions generated, as in the case of any other aircraft.

Finally, the Regulation extends the mandate of the EASA (the European Aviation Safety Agency), giving it new powers of inspection, coordination with national authorities, certification tasks and implementation powers, to strengthen the development of a so-called “single European sky”, which now also affects drones of all sizes. The EASA will also play an important role in cybersecurity.

This post is co-authored by my brilliant colleague Ludovica Mosci who is an outstanding expert of drones regulation. 

 

For more info drop me a line via Twitter –  Fb or Telegram  

If you think this information is valuablerepay my effort and share it on your #SocialMedia, Be Influent! 

Also don’t miss my Telegram channel @TechnoLawgy for the latest #Privacy and #TMT news!