So you’ve just bought your first drone, now here’s the big question… Where can you fly it? 

Here's where you're allowed to fly personal drones in the UK and other countries, and the laws to follow for safe flying.

To help you out – We’ve put together the main areas you CANNOT fly to keep you out of trouble!

Unless you have a huge back garden it's usually impossible to fly your new drone because of limited space and the potential for crashing, but your neighbours could also make a complaint – especially if your drone has an obvious camera.

You may well be able to fly in your local park, but always check before you fly. Some parks have signage which explains what is and isn't permitted. You might see a 'no model aircraft' sign, which also includes drones.

London

All eight of London's Royal Parks are no-drone zones, as are many of the commons including; Wimbledon Common, Putney Common, Clapham Common. You're not allowed to fly any model aircraft or even a kite at these sites.

You can fly on the Heaths such as Hampstead Heath and Blackheath, although this may not be the case for long as these spaces, too, are under pressure to restrict the use of drones.

In the borough of Lambeth, you will have to have a commercial licence to fly as hobbyists are considered no different from commercial operators.

In Hackney, you need to fill out an application form.

Chelsea is a 'congested area' so you cannot fly there at all. It's the same for Lewisham, Dagenham, Barking and Redbridge.

In Bexley, drones are banned from all parks and open spaces.

You can fly in parks in Ealing, though.

Greenwich, Barnet and Camden don't have a drone policy, but as mentioned, you can't fly in Greenwich Park.

In Islington and Sutton, just be careful to fly without causing a nuisance. This is a much more sensible policy that banning drones from all parks open spaces: as it effectively means you cannot fly.

If you're unsure, check with the local council before flying. There's still confusion in some areas about whether drones are permitted or not, so don't be surprised if you can't get a clear answer.

Other restricted areas

These are the places we know about - if your local park or open space has restrictions, let us know.

All parks and open spaces in Derby are now no-fly-zones.

Although extremely unhelpful because of it's lack of clear guidance, the Lake District's website appears to suggest that you can fly drones under 20kg in the National Park.

Bye-laws in the Peak District National Park mean you cannot fly drones. The website is a clearer, explaining you can't fly in the park and you must obtain permission from any land that isn't part of the National Park, such as on National Trust land.

It's not permitted to fly a drone in the New Forest either.

 

Can I fly over someone's land?

You need permission from the owner of the land if you will take off or land on their property.

Flying over someone's property is more of a grey area. Currently, the rights of a property owner are restricted in relation to the airspace above his or her land to such a height as is necessary for the ordinary use and enjoyment of his land.

In other words, you can fly in the airspace over their land (but not higher than the general rule of 400ft) as long as you do not cause a nuisance, infringe their privacy or otherwise interfere with the "ordinary use and enjoyment" of the land.

It would be down to a a judge to decide whether or not a drone pilot was infringing these rights, should a case go to court.

 

Of course, there are some areas you cannot fly at all, such as near airports, power stations and military bases.

These are called no-fly-zones and there's an app, the NATS Drone Assist, which is available for Android and iOS. This requires you to sign up for an account with an email address, rather than being a simple map overlay.

As well as restricted airspace, the app displays ground 'hazards' such as powerlines, railway lines, schools, petrol stations and other areas where you should be cautious of flying.

It also shows areas, such as parks, where you must be careful of flying near people congregating.

Assuming you're satisfied that it's ok to fly somewhere, you must still obey the minimum and maximum distance rules of the Dronecode.