For the last few years, you've been able to buy and fly a drone in the UK anonymously. You just had to obey the rules of the UK Dronecode and fly only where you were allowed.

Now, though, the UK government wants to increase safety and mitigate risks by bringing in drone registration and safety tests. This will apply to most consumer drones except very small "toy" models which are primarily intended to be used indoors.

There have been numerous instances of drones being spotted close to airports as well as used to smuggle drugs into prisons, so the other part of the plan is to increase the no-fly zones around prisons as well as other sensitive areas including airports and military bases.

Do I have to register a drone in the UK?

Right now, no. However, from 30 November 2019 you must register as a legal requirement. The scheme is set to open on 1 October so eager drone owners can register ahead of the new law coming into force. 

The CAA is proposing an annual charge of £16.50 to cover costs of running the registration scheme. This will come as a blow to many drone owners who are already very limited on where they can fly.

Drone maker DJI is in favour of registration and already builds geo-fencing into its apps to prevent its drones - including the popular Spark - straying into no-fly zones or taking off within them.

If you want to fly a drone for commercial purposes (which includes things such as creating wedding videos for which you're paid) then you will need permission from the CAA. This isn't a licence as such, but it will still cost you to take a training course, such as this one provided by Heliguy. 

Check out our recommendations of the best drones.

What are the safety tests?

Again, there is nothing set in stone yet. The test will be conducted online and would cover the rules and regulations of drone flying in the UK. The aim is to prove that owners understand the dronecode and privacy regulations.

As and when there is more information, we will update this article.