In December 2017, the EU took a big step towards new rules for drones that will apply across the European Union. The Committee of Permanent Representatives for the 28 Member States endorsed an agreement with the European Parliament to revise the EU aviation safety regulation. Amongst changes to existing aviation rules, the new regulation will establish a framework for civil drones. Manufacturers of drones should take note of these proposals as it expands the scope of regulation for drones and may impact on future business plans.
Under the current framework, the EU is only competent over drones weighing above 150 kilograms. The proposal will set out rules for drones of all sizes and will establish general principles to “ensure safety, security, privacy and the protection of personal data”. It will also include rules on noise and emissions.
There will be specific provision for higher-risk drones, introducing certification requirements. In addition, there will be registration requirements for drone operators of drones that can transfer more than 80 Joules of kinetic energy upon impact with a person.
The agreement has not yet been formally adopted: the European Parliament and 28 EU Ministers are yet to approve it. It is expected that this will happen in early 2018 and will then be followed by detailed rules and technical standards.
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