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THE Government is launching a nationwide database for anyone who wants to fly a drone in the UK.
It means owners of drones that weigh more than 250 grams will have to register online and take a safety test – or face fines of up to £1,000.
This will affect a large number of consumer drones, including popular flyers like the DJI Mavic Pro (734 grams), Parrot Bebop 2 (500 grams), and even the lightweight DJI Spark (300 grams).
Government officials have tasked the Civil Aviation Authority with looking after the drone register.
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But the good news for drone operators is that you won't be forced to sign up until November 30, 2019.
That gives the CAA time to warn drone enthusiasts about the changing rules well in advance.
"We are seeing fast growth in the numbers of drones being used, both commercially and for fun," said Baroness Sugg, the UK's aviation minister.
"Whilst we want this industry to innovate and grow, we need to protect planes, helicopters and their passengers from the increasing numbers of drones in our skies.
"These new laws will help ensure drones are used safely and responsibly."
The legal crackdown on drones goes much further than a simple drone register, however.
New laws also restrict drones from flying above 400 feet and within a kilometre of airport boundaries.
The Government wants to stem the increasingly rogue actions of careless drone operators who put the public at risk.
For instance, the number of drone incidents involving aircraft has risen significantly in recent years, from six events in 2014 to 93 in 2017.
"Drones open up some exciting possibilities but must be used responsibly," said Chris Woodroofe, Chief Operating Officer at Gatwick Airport.
"These clear regulations, combined with new surveillance technology, will help the police apprehend and prosecute anyone endangering the travelling public."
Anyone found flouting the new laws - which come into force on July 30 - faces an unlimited fine, up to five years in prison, or both.
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The new laws are part of an amendment to the Air Navigation Order 2016 but a more sweeping set of rules is expected from the draft Drones Bill this summer.
This will give police more powers to intervene if drones are being used inappropriately.
Do you think these new laws are fair? Let us know in the comments.