Scotland Drone Laws 2022

Scotland Drone Laws 2023

**Drone Laws Scotland Guide Updated 2024**

Are you ready to take to the skies with your drone in Scotland? Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, it’s crucial to understand and follow the drone rules Scotland have in place to ensure safe, legal, and enjoyable flights.

In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of the key information for drone laws in Scotland and how they impact your drone flying activities. We’ll also share some helpful tips on where and when it’s best to fly your drone to maximise your experience.

Scotland’s drone laws require that individuals be at least 12 years old to fly a drone independently. If under 12, a person must be supervised by someone over 16 who has also passed the flyer ID test. Drones should not fly higher than 400ft / 120m and must remain in the operator’s line of sight at all times.

It is necessary to obtain permission before flying in restricted airspace, including a 5km radius from airports. When flying drones, operators must keep a distance of 50m from uninvolved people, but if the drone is below 250g, operators can fly closer to people and over them.

If the drone weighs 250g or more, operators must keep a distance of at least 150m away from parks, industrial, residential, and built-up areas. If the drone is equipped with a camera, it is mandatory to register for an operator ID with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

For commercial use, operators must have insurance. These rules must be followed at night as well.

[Updated February 23, 2023]

drone laws 250g uk 11

Our goal is to help you make the most of your Scottish drone adventures while staying on the right side of the law. By following these drone regulations, you can avoid fines or having your equipment seized and focus on having a great time with your drone.

So, let’s get started!

Scotland’s Drone Laws
Key Information [Updated For 2024]

If you’re planning on flying a drone in Scotland in 2024, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the relevant drone flying rules Scotland and regulations.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for overseeing the use of drones in Scotland, and has set out a series of rules and guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone on the ground and in the air.


Summary of Drone Laws Scotland:

The drone laws in Scotland outline the rules and regulations for operating drones, including the requirements for registration, training, and limits on their use. These laws are important to ensure the safe and responsible use of drones.


Here is a summary of the Scottish Government’s drone laws:

  • You must be at least 12 years old to fly a drone on your own. If you are under 12, you must be supervised by someone 16 or over and both of you must have passed the flyer ID test.
  • Do not fly higher than 400ft / 120m.
  • Keep the drone in line of sight at all times
  • Obtain permission before flying in airspace restrictions, including 5km radius from airports
  • Keep 50m away from uninvolved people (If you’re flying a drone below 250g, you can fly closer to people than 50m and you can fly over them)
  • If your drone weighs 250g or more, keep at least 150m away from parks, industrial, residential, and built-up areas.
  • If your drone has a camera, you must register for an operator ID with the CAA.
  • You must have insurance if you use your drone for commercial use
  • Follow these rules at night as well.

Remember that you are responsible for your actions while flying

Don’t let a lack of Scottish drone laws knowledge ruin your drone-flying fun! Make sure to familiarise yourself with the complete list of Scotland drone laws before taking to the skies. Ignoring these Scottish drone regulations could result in costly fines and legal consequences, so it’s best to play it safe and stay informed.

Fly smart, fly safe!

Do You Need To Register A Drone In Scotland?

If you want to fly your drone or model aircraft outdoors in Scotland, there are a few things you need to make sure you have in order to do so legally and safely.

All drones with cameras, regardless of their weight, need an operator ID from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in order to be flown legally in the Scotland. This includes beginner drones such as the DJI Mini 2 and Mini 3.

Scotland Legal ID and Registration Requirements

The IDs you need to fly your drone or model aircraft legally in the Scotland depend on a number of factors, including the weight of your drone, whether it is classified as a toy and whether it has a camera.

Flyer ID

Drone regulations in Scotland say you are required to have a flyer ID if you are flying a drone or model aircraft weighs more than 250 grams (8.8 ounces) for recreational purposes. A flyer ID is a identification issued by the Scottish Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that allows an individual to fly a drone or model aircraft in Scotland.

To obtain a flyer ID, you must be at least 13 years old and pass the CAA’s official 40 questions theory test. You can register for a flyer ID online through the CAA’s website. The registration process requires an email address. The cost of a flyer ID is £0 and it is valid for 5 years.

drone code operator ID 1

Operator ID

All drones with a camera need an operator ID. An operator ID is an identification issued by the Scottish Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that allows an individual to operate a drone or model aircraft for commercial purposes in the Scottish. The operator is the person or organisation responsible for managing a drone or model aircraft, including maintaining it and ensuring that anyone who flies it has a valid flyer ID.

To obtain an operator ID, you must be at least 18 years old and pass the CAA’s official theory test. The registration process requires an email address and a credit or debit card for payment. The cost of an operator ID is £10 and it is valid for 1 year.

If you are younger than 18 and own a drone or model aircraft, your parent or guardian must register for an operator ID on your behalf. However, you can still fly the drone or model aircraft as long as you have a valid flyer ID.

Taking The Scottish Operator & Flyer ID Test 2024

Are you ready to take the plunge and get your flyer and operator ID? Here’s what you need to know about the CAA’s official theory test:

  • The test is completely free to take.
  • It consists of 40 multiple choice questions, and you need to score at least 30 to pass.
  • If you need a little extra help during the test, you can refer to The Drone and Model Aircraft Code for guidance.
  • You should allow at least 30 minutes to complete the test, but you can take as much time as you need as long as you’re not inactive for more than 90 minutes.
  • If you don’t pass the first time, don’t worry! You can take the test as many times as you like.
  • The questions may be in a random order, so be prepared for anything.

Taking the theory test is an important step on the road to becoming a responsible and safe drone or model aircraft flyer.

Before you start

You’ll need:

  • an email address that you can check when registering
  • a debit or credit card if you’re registering for an operator ID
  • details of any insurance required

How Much Does Scotland Drone Test Cost?

RegistrationCostValid for
Operator ID£101 year
Flyer ID£05 years

Need some assistance preparing for your drone fly ID test?

Check out our updated post featuring [40] CAA drone theory test – questions and answers!

Ensure Legal Identification Of Your Drone

If you operate drones or model aircraft, it is important to label them with your operator ID. Your operator ID is a unique identification number that is assigned to you as the operator of these aircraft. It is important to label your drones and model aircraft with this ID because it helps to identify who is responsible for the aircraft.

To label your drones and model aircraft, you should make sure that the operator ID is visible from the outside of the aircraft, or within a compartment that can easily be accessed without using a tool.

drone code labelling your drone 1

The operator ID should be written in clear, block capital letters that are taller than 3mm. The operator ID should also be secure and safe from damage, and should be placed on the main body of the aircraft.

How To Label Your Drone

  • Step 1: Write your Operator ID in clear and block letters that are at least 3mm tall.
  • Step 2: Securely attach the label to the main body of the aircraft. It should be visible from the outside or within a compartment that can easily be accessed without using a tool.
  • Step 3: Ensure that the label is safe from damage, and that it will remain legible throughout the life of the drone.
  • Step 4: Repeat this process for each drone or model aircraft that you are responsible for, using the same Operator ID for all of them.

It is important to note that you should use your operator ID, not your flyer ID, when labeling your drones and model aircraft. The operator ID is assigned to you as the operator of the aircraft, while the flyer ID is assigned to the person who is flying the aircraft.

By using your operator ID, you can ensure that you are properly identified as the person responsible for the aircraft.

Categories of Drone and Model Aircraft Operations

Drone flights can be classified into three categories based on the level of risk they pose to third parties.

These categories are:

  • Open: This category is for low-risk drone flights. An authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is not required for this category.
  • Specific: This category is for more complex operations or aspects of the operation that fall outside the boundaries of the Open category. An authorisation from the CAA is required for this category.
  • Certified: This category is for very complex operations that present an equivalent risk to manned aviation. Scotland drone regulations for this category are still being developed and are not yet published. Until specific regulations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are available, the principles set out in the relevant manned aviation regulations for airworthiness, operations, and licensing will be used to regulate the Certified category.

To fly a drone with a camera legally in Scotland, you must pass a test to get an operator ID. This allows you to fly in the Open A1 and A3 sub-categories.

Difference Between Open, Specific, and Certified Drone Categories

There are three categories for drones in Scotland: Open, Specific, and Certified. The Open Category is for low-risk operations and has three subcategories based on the type of flying being done and the drone being used.

Difference Between Open A1, A2 and A3 Categories

Low-risk drone operations do not need any special permission, but must follow strict rules.

There are three subcategories for these types of operations, based on the purpose of the flight and the drone being used. These categories are called the Open Category.

Scotland’s Drone Law Classification System

As of January 1, 2023, Scotland will have new rules for drones. These rules will require all new drones to meet certain standards and be classified into one of four categories: C0, C1, C2, or C3. The classification will be based on the weight and capabilities of the drone and will determine how and where it can be flown.

drone uk law classification

The classes and their corresponding subcategories are as follows:

  • Class C0: May be flown in all subcategories.
  • Class C1: May be flown in all subcategories.
  • Class C2: May only be flown in subcategories A2 (with an A2 Certificate of Competence [CofC]) or A3.
  • Class C3: May be flown in subcategory A3 only.
  • Class C4: May be flown in subcategory A3 only.

5 Drone Classes and Their Corresponding Rules

The classifications will range from C0 to C4 and will determine where and how the drones can be flown. Here is a table summarising the differences between the C classes:

Drone ClassDrone Class Mark Legal Guidelines
C0C0 drones are very small unmanned aircraft, including toys, that weigh less than 250 grams, have a maximum speed of 42.5 mph, and must stay within 400 feet of the control device.
C1C1 drones must weigh less than 900 grams, have a maximum speed of 42.5 mph, and be designed to minimise injury if they collide with a person. These drones also have noise and height limits and must meet certain requirements for remote identification and awareness of their surroundings.
C2C2 drones must weigh less than 4 kilograms, be designed to minimise injury if they collide with a person, and have a low-speed mode that limits their maximum speed to 6.7 mph when selected by the operator. These drones also have noise and height limits and must meet certain requirements for remote identification and awareness of their surroundings, as well as additional requirements if they are used while tethered to the ground.
C3C3 drones are unmanned aircraft that have automatic control modes and weigh less than 25 kilograms. These drones also have height limits and must meet certain requirements for remote identification and awareness of their surroundings, as well as additional requirements if they are used while tethered to the ground.
C4C4 drones are unmanned aircraft that do not have any automation besides basic flight stabilisation and weigh less than 25 kilograms. These drones also have height limits and must meet certain requirements for remote identification and awareness of their surroundings, as well as additional requirements if they are used while tethered to the ground.
Drone Class Marks Explained

Scotland’s Drone Law Changes In January 2023

From January 1, 2023, drones with an EU class mark will not be recognised in Scotland. Meaning they will need to be flown under Transitional provisions. The Transitional period, which was due to end in 2022, has been extended to January 1, 2026. This means that current drones with no class mark (or a class mark not recognised in the Scotland) can be operated in accordance with Transitional provisions for longer.

Until January 2023, if a drone does not have a class marking, it can be flown in certain categories based on its weight.

drone building survey

Drones under 250 grams are allowed to be flown in subcategory A1, as well as A2 and A3. Drones weighing less than 2 kilograms can be flown in subcategory A2 and A3, but the operator must keep a distance of 50 meters from people and pass a theory exam called the A2 Certificate of Competency.

Drones weighing 2 kilograms or more can only be flown in subcategory A3.

Starting in January 2023, drones that were built privately and weigh 250 grams or less can still be flown in subcategory A1.

All other drones are only allowed to be used in subcategory A3.

Authorised Areas for Drone Operations 2024

In this section, we’ll cover the regulations surrounding where you can fly your drone. This includes legal height limits, distances you must keep from people, and areas where you are not permitted to fly.

We’ll also discuss restrictions on flying near airports and spaceports. It’s important to familiarise yourself with these rules to ensure that you are flying safely and responsibly.

Let’s dive in!

Always Fly Your Drone Below 400ft

It is important to fly your drone below a certain height in order to reduce the risk of coming into contact with other aircraft. In the Scotland, the legal drone height limit for drone flying is 120m (400ft). This means that you should not fly your drone higher than 120m (400ft) in order to avoid potential collisions with other aircraft.

It’s also important to keep an eye out for other aircraft that may be flying below this height, such as air ambulances, police helicopters, and military aircraft. These types of aircraft may need to fly at lower altitudes for various reasons, such as responding to an emergency or conducting surveillance.

By staying aware of your surroundings and maintaining a safe distance from these aircraft, you can help to ensure the safety of everyone in the sky.

Have A Drone Under 250g?

comprehensive blog covering the laws and regulations for drones weighing 250g and under.

Adjust Your Flight Ceiling in Mountainous or Hilly Terrain

If you are flying in an area where the ground falls or rises, such as over hills, mountains, or cliffs, you may need to adjust your flight path to ensure that you are always within the legal height limit.

drone code 120m limit

For example, if you are flying your drone over a mountain, you may need to fly at a lower altitude in order to stay within the 120m (400ft) height limit.

This is because the mountain itself is higher than the surrounding area, and you need to take into account the height of the mountain in relation to the height of your drone.

Do not fly closer to people than 50m

When flying a drone or model aircraft, it is important to maintain a safe distance from people. This means that you should not fly closer to people than 50 meters (164 feet). This rule applies to people on the ground as well as people in buildings or other vehicles, such as cars, trucks, trains, and boats.

drone code 50m to people 1

To help you remember this rule, it can be helpful to think of a 50 meter (164 foot) zone around people as a “no fly zone”. This zone extends all the way up to the legal height limit for drone flight, which is usually around 120 meters (400 feet). This means that you should not fly over people, even if you are flying at a higher altitude.

Do Not Fly Closer to People Than 50m

When flying a drone or model aircraft, it is important to maintain a safe distance from people to avoid any potential accidents or injuries. However, the rule on minimum distances is different for people who are involved in the activity you are doing with your drone.

For example, if you are flying a drone with friends, family, or colleagues who are also participating in the activity, you can fly closer to them than the general rule of 50 meters (164 feet). However, if you’re flying a drone that’s below 250g, you can fly closer to people than 50m and you can fly over them.

drone code crowds

Official Scotland Drone Distancing Laws

In addition to the general rule of keeping a minimum distance of 50 meters (164 feet) from people, there are certain situations where it may be necessary to increase this distance to ensure the safety of your flight.

Here are some general rules to follow when determining the safe distance to maintain from people:

If you are flying at a higher altitude, maintain the same distance horizontally from people. For example, if you are flying at an altitude of 80 meters (262 feet), keep a distance of 80 meters (262 feet) from people.

If the weather conditions are poor, such as high winds, fly further away from people to reduce the risk of accidents or injuries.

If you are flying at high speeds, increase the distance from people to give yourself more time to react to any potential hazards.

Examples of places where people are often crowded together include:

  • Shopping areas
  • Sports events
  • Religious gatherings
  • Political gatherings
  • Music festivals and concerts
  • Marches and rallies
  • Crowded beach or park
  • Parties, carnivals and fêtes

Scotland’s Drone Laws For Residential, Recreational, Commercial and Industrial Sites

You must keep a minimum distance of 150 meters away from certain types of locations, such as residential areas, recreational areas, commercial areas, and industrial sites. The purpose of this distance is to ensure the safety of people and property on the ground. It is important to note that you should be prepared to increase this distance if necessary for the safe operation of the drone or model aircraft.

You can fly small drones that are lighter than 250g at residential, recreational, commercial and industrial sites

It is important to note that the minimum distance of 150 meters is just that – a minimum. If you need to fly your drone or model aircraft further away in order to do so safely, you should do so. And while small drones and model aircraft weighing less than 250 grams can be flown at these types of locations, it is always crucial to prioritise safety in your flying practices.

drone code 150m areas

Residential sites include:

  • Individual residential buildings
  • Gardens
  • Parks
  • Small groups of residential buildings
  • Housing estates
  • Villages
  • Cities and towns
  • Schools

Recreational sites include:

Commercial sites include:

  • Shopping centres
  • Warehouses
  • Business parks
  • Motorways

Industrial sites include:

Understanding Airport Restricted Zones and Other No-Fly Drone Laws 2024

There are certain areas around airports, airfields, and spaceports where it is not safe to fly drones or model aircraft. These areas are called “flight restriction zones” (FRZs) and they are put in place to prevent collisions with aircraft or spacecraft. If you want to fly in or near one of these zones, you must get permission from the airport, airfield, or spaceport before doing so.

drone code airport flight restriction zone

It is important to note that even if an airport, airfield, or spaceport does not have an FRZ, you should still avoid flying in or near these locations if it could pose a danger to the safety of aircraft. In general, it is a good idea to stay at least 5 kilometers away from an airport unless you have permission to fly closer.

There are several resources available to help you find out about flight restriction zones and other airspace restrictions. The Scottish Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has a map of these restrictions that you can access online, and some drone apps may also provide information about these zones.

UK Drone Laws

However, it is important to be aware that not all small airfields may be listed on these resources, so you should always be on the lookout for any signs that there may be an airfield nearby, such as light aircraft, equipment, or facilities.

In summary, it is important to avoid flying in or near airports, airfields, and spaceports unless you have permission to do so, and to always be aware of any potential dangers to aircraft.

Legal Scottish Insurance Requirements for Drones

When it comes to flying drones or model aircraft, it is important to make sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage to protect yourself and others in case of an accident or other incident. The insurance you need will depend on the size of your drone or model aircraft and how you plan to use it.

uk drone regulations 250g

Drones and Model Aircraft Below 20kg

If your drone or model aircraft weighs less than 20kg and you plan to use it for recreational purposes such as fun, sport, or as a hobby, you have the option of whether or not to get insurance.

However, if you plan to use your drone or model aircraft for any other purpose, such as getting paid to take pictures or videos or using it for work, you must have third party liability insurance per Scottish Drone law.

This type of drone insurance covers you if you accidentally cause injury or damage to someone else or their property while flying your drone or model aircraft.

Although it is optional to get insurance if you only fly your drone or model aircraft for recreational purposes, it is important to remember that you are responsible for your actions while flying.

If you cause injury or damage, you could be held personally liable. It may be a good idea to consider getting third party liability insurance to protect yourself in case of an accident.

How to Obtain the Necessary Permissions for Your Flight

When it comes to flying a drone legally, obtaining the necessary permissions is crucial to ensure that your flight is legal, safe and does not cause any disturbance or damage to the environment or people.

There are several types of permissions that you may need to consider before taking off in Scotland:

Securing Landowner Permission

Before you take off or land on any private property, it’s essential to have the permission of the landowner. If the property is owned by the local council or government, you may need to seek permission from them as well.

Obtaining Local Authority Permission

Obtaining permission from the local authorities is an essential step when planning a drone flight in Scotland. Each local authority may have specific requirements and regulations for drone flights within their jurisdiction, so it’s important to check with them before carrying out a flight to ensure that you are abiding by their requirements.

In addition to the Drone Code, which lays out the general guidelines for flying drones in Scotland, there may also be local bylaws that regulate your flight, such as flying over crowded areas, sensitive sites, and restricted airspace.

Informing the Local Police

Informing the local police of your intended flight is another important step when planning a drone flight in Scotland. It’s always a good idea to inform the local police in advance of the location, date, and time of your flight. This helps to ensure the safety of the public and avoid any disturbance or disruption. The police may ask you for additional information or issue you with a Log Number for your records, this log number is a reference number which you should keep for your records and in case the police need to contact you again. This step is essential to ensure the safety of the public and avoid any disturbance or disruption, and it also helps to avoid any potential legal issues.

Obtaining Permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

When it comes to flying a drone in Scotland, obtaining permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is an important step to ensure compliance with regulations and maintain safety. The CAA sets guidelines for flying drones, including the Open category and Operational Authorisation, which outline the requirements for general flying.

However, if your flight plan requires different permissions, such as reducing the distance to buildings, you may need to apply for an Operational Safety Case (OSC) with the CAA. This application process requires providing evidence that the flight can be carried out safely and without compromising safety. By obtaining the proper permissions from the CAA, you can ensure that your flight is legal and safe for all involved.

Notifying Network Rail if flying near the railway

When flying a drone near a railway in Scotland, it’s important to notify Network Rail of your intended flight path. This step is crucial for safety as flights within 50m of the railway are not permitted. Network Rail maintains a list of companies that are authorised to carry out this type of work and can put you in touch with them if required.

By informing Network Rail and obtaining the necessary permissions, you can ensure the safety of passengers and train operations and avoid any potential legal issues. It’s also important to note that regulations and permissions may vary depending on the country and location, so it’s important to research and understand the laws and regulations in the area where you plan to fly.

Contacting Local Air Traffic Control (ATC) if flying near an airport

When it comes to flying a drone in the vicinity of an airport, it’s important to seek permission from the local Air Traffic Control (ATC). Flying a drone in the airspace controlled by an airport is strictly prohibited without permission from the ATC. If your flight plan takes you within the airspace controlled by an airport, it’s important to contact the ATC and request permission to fly.

They will evaluate your request, ensure your flight is safe and put in place any necessary mitigation measures. If deemed safe, you may still be able to carry out your flight. It’s important to note that not obtaining permission from the ATC could lead to legal issues and safety risks. It’s always best to check with the relevant authorities and obtain the necessary permissions before conducting any drone flight near an airport.

Obtaining Permission from Nuclear Facilities

When it comes to flying a drone near Nuclear Facilities, it’s important to understand and abide by the Flight Restriction Zones (FRZ) in place. These FRZs are put in place to ensure the safety and security of the facilities and the public. Flying a drone within these zones without permission is illegal and could result in legal consequences. To legally fly a drone near a Nuclear Facility, you must first obtain permission from an authorized person at the facility.

Once you have obtained this permission, you must then pass it to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) who will grant you temporary permission to conduct the flight. It’s important to note that the rules and regulations for flying a drone near Nuclear Facilities can vary depending on the country and location, so it’s important to research and understand the laws and regulations in the area where you plan to fly.

Obtaining Permission from Prisons, Military Bases, Sport Stadiums, etc.

When planning a drone flight, it’s important to check for any restriction zones that may be in place around the site you plan to fly. These zones are put in place to ensure the safety and security of the public, and flying within them without permission is illegal. Some examples of sites that may have restriction zones include: Prisons, Military Bases, Sport Stadiums etc. It’s always recommended to check the airspace around the site as soon as possible in your planning process, to ensure you have enough time to gain all the necessary permissions.

This will help you avoid any potential legal issues and ensure the safety of the public and the site. It’s important to note that rules and regulations for flying a drone near these types of sites can vary depending on the location, so it’s important to research and understand the laws and regulations in the area where you plan to fly.

Obtaining Permission from National Trust

National Trust locations refer to the properties, gardens, and parks that are owned and managed by the National Trust in the United Kingdom. These can include historic houses, castles, gardens, parks, beaches, and countryside landscapes. Some of the most famous National Trust locations include Stonehenge, Hadrian’s Wall, Giant’s Causeway, and many more. These places are protected and conserved by the National Trust for the benefit of the nation, they are open to the public and offer a wide range of activities, events and experiences throughout the year. The National Trust’s website provides a list of all their locations across the Scotland, which you can filter by location, type of property, and interest.

The National Trust may grant permission for commercial drone filming in certain circumstances. To be considered, the production company must follow the same competency and insurance rules as those required for contractors. Additionally, the filming must be commercial in nature and must have been agreed with the National Trust’s filming office.

The National Trust usually considers applications from recognised production companies who are using drone footage as part of a broader production, which includes filming on the ground with actors and presenters. The footage obtained can only be used for the named project, and further use, including image libraries, is prohibited. The National Trust does not grant permission for amateur or student filming and does not approve requests from any fliers who seek permission in return for access and use of the footage obtained.

Scotland Drone Privacy Laws 2024

Privacy is an important issue when it comes to using drones or model aircraft. It’s important to respect the privacy of others and to make sure that you don’t invade their privacy when you’re out flying your drone.

There are certain things that you can and can’t do with photos and videos taken with your drone. For example, you should not use a camera or listening device on your drone to invade someone’s privacy, such as by taking pictures or recordings inside their home or garden. This is likely to be a violation of data protection laws.

It’s also important to remember that it’s against the law to take photographs or record video or sound for criminal purposes. If you do take photos or recordings with your drone, they may be covered by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is a set of rules that protect the personal data of individuals.

In general, it’s a good idea to be mindful of other people’s privacy when using your drone, and to make sure that you are not invading their privacy or breaking any laws.

drone laws 250g uk

Ensuring Visibility and Accountability

It’s important to be visible and accountable when operating a drone or model aircraft. This means letting others know that you are responsible for the device. Additionally, it’s important to respect people’s privacy by letting them know before you start recording or taking pictures with your drone.

It’s not always practical to do this in every situation, but it’s important to try to do so whenever possible. It’s also important to never fly over groups of people or crowds without their permission. This will help ensure that you are following safety guidelines and respecting others’ rights.

Ethical and Lawful Drone Photography

It’s important to think carefully before sharing photos and videos taken with your drone. Avoid sharing anything that could be unfair or harmful to anyone. Consider who might be able to see the images and apply the same common-sense approach that you would with other types of photos or videos.

It’s also important to keep your photos and videos secure by storing them safely and deleting anything you no longer need. If you plan to use your drone images for commercial purposes, you will need to meet additional requirements as a data controller. This may include obtaining consent from individuals who are featured in the images and ensuring that the images are used in a responsible and ethical manner.

Unique Scottish Drone Law Scenarios

According to Scotland’s drone laws, there are certain less common flying activities that you may need to be aware of as a drone operator. These points are not included in the theory test, but are important to understand if you are planning to carry out these types of activities.

Flying with follow-me Drones

Flying with follow-me mode active. Some drones or model aircraft have a follow-me mode that allows you to set the aircraft to follow you within a fixed distance. While you do not have to keep your drone or model aircraft in direct sight when follow-me mode is active and set to follow within 50 meters of you, you must still follow all of the other points outlined in Scotland’s drone laws.

drone code tall structure

Tall Structures

Scotland’s drone laws allow for flying over very tall structures in certain circumstances. If the person or organisation responsible for a very tall structure over 105 meters asks you to carry out a task related to their structure, you are allowed to fly higher than 120 meters. However, you must never fly more than 15 meters above the structure, and your drone or model aircraft must be within 50 meters of the structure horizontally when flying over 120 meters.

Have A Drone Invading Privacy?

Full Scottish Guide To Removing A Drone From Your Property

Emergency incidents

When there is an emergency incident, such as a car accident, fire, flood, or rescue operation, it is important to stay out of the way and not fly in a way that could obstruct the emergency services. If you are flying near an emergency incident when it occurs, you must stop flying immediately unless the emergency services give you permission to continue.

You should also follow any temporary restrictions that are put in place and be mindful not to interfere with any aerial support provided to the emergency services.

Additionally, it is important to respect the privacy of those involved in the emergency.

Emergency incidents

When there is an emergency incident, such as a car accident, fire, flood, or rescue operation, it is important to stay out of the way and not fly in a way that could obstruct the emergency services. If you are flying near an emergency incident when it occurs, you must stop flying immediately unless the emergency services give you permission to continue.

You should also follow any temporary restrictions that are put in place and be mindful not to interfere with any aerial support provided to the emergency services.

Additionally, it is important to respect the privacy of those involved in the emergency.

FPV Drone Flying Laws

FPV (first-person view) drone flying is legal in Scotland, but there are certain laws and regulations that must be followed to ensure safety. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates FPV drone flights and has created specific categories for these types of flights.

FPV flights are permitted within the Open and Specific categories, provided that certain criteria are met. One of the main requirements is that FPV pilots must fly with an unmanned aircraft observer (UA observer) who keeps direct visual contact with the drone at all times. This is to ensure that the drone remains in sight and can be safely flown. The UA observer must be located alongside the pilot so they can immediately communicate with the pilot.

Additionally, FPV pilots who are members of drone or model aircraft clubs may be afforded greater flexibility for FPV flights and drone racing through the Article 16 Operational Authorisation. This authorization allows for certain exemptions to be made for certain types of flights, such as those conducted by experienced pilots in designated areas.

It is important to note that FPV pilots are still subject to the standard regulations of the CAA and must follow the Drone Code, which includes flying below 400ft, keeping the drone in sight, and not flying in restricted airspace.

Follow Me Mode Drone Legality

Follow-me mode, where a drone is set to automatically follow and track a subject, is legal in Scotland. However, it is only permitted within certain guidelines and regulations set out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Follow-me mode can be used for flights in the Open Category, which is the category for most recreational and small commercial drone flights. However, there is a maximum distance of 50m from the remote pilot that the drone can fly in follow-me mode. This is to ensure that the drone remains within the pilot’s line of sight and can be safely flown.

Flying A Drone Indoors

When it comes to flying drones indoors in the Scotland, there are certain laws and regulations that must be followed to ensure safety. Unlike outdoor drone flights, which are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), indoor drone flights fall under the jurisdiction of Health and Safety regulations.

If you are planning to fly a drone indoors, it’s important to conduct a thorough risk assessment and to ensure that the environment is safe for the drone flight. This includes ensuring that the space is large enough for the drone to fly safely, that there are no obstacles or hazards that could damage the drone or harm people and animals, and that there is proper ventilation to dissipate any fumes or dust generated by the drone.

It’s also important to consider the noise level of the drone, as well as the potential for electromagnetic interference, which could affect other electronic equipment in the area.

It’s worth noting that if there is any possibility of the drone escaping outdoors into general aviation, you will need to follow the regulations of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

When flying a drone indoors, it’s also important to be aware of the privacy laws and regulations that may apply, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is a regulation that applies to all member states of the European Union. This regulation applies to the protection of personal data, and it is important to take the necessary steps to protect the privacy of the people and their personal information.

In summary, while indoor drone flights are not regulated by the CAA, they still require proper planning, risk assessment, and compliance with health and safety regulations to ensure the safety of the people and the drone. It’s always best to consult with the relevant authorities and experts to ensure that you are following all the laws and regulations before conducting any indoor drone flight.

Common Scotland Drone Law FAQ

I am visiting Scotland with a DJI mini 3, what do I legally need?

If you are bringing your DJI Mini 3 to Scotland for recreational use, you will need an operator ID. This can be obtained online here for £10. You will need to follow the rules and regulations for flying drones in the Scotland, which can be found on the Scotland Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) website.

If you plan to use your drone for any commercial purpose. This requires you to hold a valid operator ID and meet certain safety and training requirements. Additionally, you will need to have adequate insurance coverage for your commercial drone operations.

Can I Report a Drone Over My Property in Scotland?

Contact your local authorities on 101 if you have any concerns about unmanned aircraft being used in your vicinity, either from a safety or privacy standpoint. The CAA does not always have the same resources, reaction speeds, or investigative capabilities as the police. However, we recommend getting in touch with the pilot first.

Can I Fly a Drone Over Private Property In The Scotland?

If you want to fly your drone within 50 meters of a person or their private property, it’s important to obtain their permission beforehand, preferably in writing so that you have proof if needed. This is especially important if you plan on using your drone for commercial purposes, as you will also need to obtain permission from the Scotland Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Failing to obtain the necessary permissions before flying your drone could result in legal consequences, so it’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations governing the use of drones in Scotland.

What are the penalties for flying a drone illegally in Scotland?

You could be fined for breaking the law when flying your drone or model aircraft.In the most serious cases, you could be sent to prison.

What are the Scotland Drone Laws regarding flying near vehicles, vessels, and structures?

The Scottish drone laws regarding flying near vehicles, vessels, and structures are focused on ensuring the safety of uninvolved people. While there are no specific minimum distances set down for separation from these types of objects, pilots are still responsible for ensuring that they are not endangering.

According to the Air Navigation Order (article 241), it is an offense to ‘endanger’ any vehicle, vessel, or structure with an unmanned aircraft. Therefore, pilots must still apply the relevant limitations for separating from persons, unless they can be certain that the vehicle, vessel, or structure is unoccupied or that the occupants will be protected.

Additionally, pilots must also consider the overall security and privacy situation when flying near certain buildings. It is important to obtain permission before flying close to any building that may pose a security or privacy concern.

What happens to my PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) with the new 2023 Scottish drone laws?

Your valid PfCO will be amended to bring it in line with the new Operational Authorisation. This means that your PfCO will not become null and void on December 31, 2020. Instead, the terms of the operating conditions will be updated to align with the Operational Authorisation. This will ensure that all relevant UAS operators hold the same privileges.

The PfCO will remain valid until its expiration date and when you renew your application, you will receive an Operational Authorisation. Individuals with NQE qualifications may continue to renew their Operational Authorisation until January 1, 2024, before which, they will be required to undertake the PfCO to GVC Conversion course.

UK’s Leading Commercial Drone Service

Skykam is a UK-based drone company that specialises in providing drone inspection services for a wide range of industries. Our team of experienced drone pilots, engineers, and project managers are trained to deliver safe, efficient, and cost-effective aerial solutions that meet our clients’ needs.

drone mapping services

We use advanced technologies, such as thermal imaging and lidar surveys, to provide accurate data and high-quality imagery for our clients. Our services include drone surveys, LiDAR mapping, videography, and topographic mapping. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your drone inspection needs.

Contact us to learn more about how we can assist with your drone inspection needs.

Get A Drone Service Quote

Further Drone Law Scotland Reading: Acts and regulations

CAP1789A: Consolidated version of the EU UAS Implementing Regulation (opens in a new tab).

CAP1789B: Consolidated version of the EU UAS Delegated Regulation (opens in a new tab).

The Air Navigation Order 2016 (opens in new tab), including the 2018 amendment (opens in new tab) and 2019 amendment (opens in new tab).

The Civil Aviation Authority has published a copy of the Air Navigation Order with amendments inserted (opens in a new tab).

The Data Protection Act 2018 (opens in new tab).

Scotland Drone Law Guide For Informational Purposes Only

This Scotland drone law guide is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. The information contained in this guide may not be up to date and may not necessarily reflect the current laws and regulations related to drones in the Scotland.

Leslie Drones is not liable for any incorrect information contained in this guide. It is the responsibility of the user to check the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) website for the most up-to-date information on drone laws and regulations in the UK. The CAA is the official source for information on Scotland drone laws and regulations.

The images used in this content are from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) drone code and are used for illustrative purposes only. These images are not intended to be used for commercial purposes and remain the property of the CAA. The use of these images does not imply endorsement by the CAA of the content or any products or services mentioned in the content. The CAA accepts no liability for any errors or omissions in the content or for any loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the use of the images or the content.

1 thought on “Scotland Drone Laws 2023”

  1. “To fly a drone with a camera legally in Scotland, you must pass a test to get an operator ID. This allows you to fly in the Open A1 and A3 sub-categories”

    Would this not be the “Flyer ID”? I ask because I didn’t need to do any tests to get an Operator ID.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *