The use of drones in the UK has skyrocketed in recent years, with applications spanning across various industries and recreational purposes.
This article provides a comprehensive analysis of drone statistics in the UK, exploring the growth of drone usage, regulations, economic impact, applications, safety concerns, and future prospects.
Key UK Drone Statistics
- Drone Pilots in the UK: As of 30th April 2022, there are 181,166 registered drone pilots in the United Kingdom, according to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
- UK Commercial Drone Market: Valued at around £1.2 billion in 2021, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25% until 2026.
- Recreational Drone Usage: Over 500,000 recreational drone users are estimated in the UK, with numbers expected to increase as technology becomes more affordable.
- Flight Restrictions Breaches: Between 20 January 2022 and 1 September 2022, there were 239 suspected breaches of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) by drones in the UK.
- Drone Demographics: 4% of drone pilots are women, and 96% are men.
- Drone Operator ID Renewals: Between 1 November 2020 and 2 September 2022, there were 223,467 Drone Operator IDs renewed, showcasing the continued interest in drone operations.
- Drone Operator ID Expiration: During the same period, 113,205 Drone Operator IDs expired, indicating a need for better awareness and adherence to regulations.
- Employment Opportunities: The drone industry could create more than 600,000 jobs in various sectors by 2030.
According to the CAA, There are 181,166 Drone Pilots in The UK
As of 30th April 2022, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reports that there are 181,166 drone pilots in the United Kingdom
The figure of 181,166 drone pilots in the United Kingdom, as reported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on 30th April 2022, highlights the growing popularity and usage of drones within the country. This data, as a part of UK drone statistics, demonstrates the increasing number of individuals who are obtaining the necessary certifications and registrations to legally operate drones for various purposes such as aerial photography, surveying, and recreational flying.
The rise in drone pilots reflects the expanding drone industry and the potential economic impact it may have on the UK market.
Growth of Drone Usage in the UK
Commercial Drone Usage
The commercial drone market in the UK has seen significant growth over the past few years, with companies from various sectors adopting drones for increased efficiency and cost savings.
According to a recent market research report, the UK commercial drone market was valued at around £1.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25% until 2026.
Recreational Drone Usage
Recreational drone usage in the UK has also experienced rapid growth. Recent surveys estimate that there are over 500,000 recreational drone users in the UK.
This number is expected to rise further as drone technology becomes more accessible and affordable.
UK Drone Demographic Statistics
As the drone market continues to grow in the United Kingdom, it is essential to understand the demographics of drone pilots to gain insights into the industry’s reach and diversity. In this section, we will explore the gender distribution and age groups of drone pilots in the UK.
Gender Distribution of Drone Pilots
4% of drone pilots are women, and 96% are men.
This drone demographic statistic highlights a significant gender imbalance within the UK drone industry. The low percentage of female drone pilots indicates that more efforts need to be made to encourage and support women in pursuing careers and hobbies within this field.
By promoting diversity and inclusivity in the drone sector, the industry can benefit from a broader range of skills, perspectives, and talents.
Age Distribution of UK Drone Pilots
The age distribution of drone pilots in the UK is as follows:
- 25% of pilots are aged between 35 and 44.
- 16% of pilots are aged between 25 and 34.
- 27% of pilots are aged 55 and above.
- 25% of pilots are aged between 45 and 54.
This drone demographic statistic reveals that the drone industry attracts individuals across various age groups, with the majority of pilots falling within the 35-44 and 55+ age brackets. This diverse age distribution demonstrates that drone technology appeals to a wide range of users, from younger enthusiasts to older professionals. As the market continues to expand, it is crucial to ensure that drone training, resources, and opportunities cater to individuals from all age groups, fostering a thriving and diverse drone community in the UK.
Drone Regulations in the UK
Registration and Licensing
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates drone usage in the UK. To maintain safety and accountability, drone operators must register their devices and pass a competency test.
Drones weighing between 250 grams and 20 kilograms must be registered with the CAA.
Data is sourced from the CAA through a freedom of information request in 2023.
In November 2019 the CAA launched the drone operator ID. This requires owners of drones with a camera to register as the owner.
|Time Period||New Flyer IDs||New Operator IDs||Flyer IDs Renewed||Operator IDs Renewed||Expired Flyer IDs||Expired Operator IDs|
|1 Nov 2019 – 1 Nov 2020||161,375||163,576||0||11,253||0||0|
|1 Nov 2020 – 1 Nov 2021||92,140||82,890||1,407||107,839||0||54,825|
|1 Nov 2021 – 2 Sep 2022||62,705||56,661||3,537||115,628||0||58,380|
It is important to note that the Flyer ID system was only introduced in 2019, which explains the significant increase in registrations during the initial period. Additionally, there are no Flyer ID renewals reported in the given UK drone statistic data because the Flyer IDs are valid for five years.
The first batch of Flyer ID renewals is expected to occur in November 2024.
1 November 2019 to 1 November 2020: Usage Statistics
- New Drone Flyer IDs issued: 161,375
- New Drone Operator IDs issued: 163,576
- Drone Flyer IDs renewed: 0
- Drone Operator IDs renewed: 11,253
- Expired Flyer IDs: 0
- Expired Operator IDs: 0
During this period, drone usage saw a meteoric rise. A whopping 161,375 new drone flyer IDs and 163,576 new drone operator IDs were issued, with not a single expired ID in sight! It’s safe to say that the sky was the limit for drone enthusiasts during this time.
1 November 2020 to 1 November 2021
- New Drone Flyer IDs issued: 92,140
- New Drone Operator IDs issued: 82,890
- Drone Flyer IDs renewed: 1,407
- Drone Operator IDs renewed: 107,839
- Expired Flyer IDs: 0
- Expired Operator IDs: 54,825
This period saw a slight dip in new drone flyer and operator IDs, but there was a significant surge in renewals. Drone Operator IDs saw a jaw-dropping 107,839 renewals, while 1,407 Flyer IDs got renewed.
The first batch of expired operator IDs appeared, totaling 54,825.
1 November 2021 to 2 September 2022
- New Drone Flyer IDs issued: 62,705
- New Drone Operator IDs issued: 56,661
- Drone Flyer IDs renewed: 3,537
- Drone Operator IDs renewed: 115,628
- Expired Flyer IDs: 0
- Expired Operator IDs: 58,380
As the drone landscape matured, there was a steady decline in new drone flyer and operator IDs issued, but renewals remained strong. Drone Operator IDs saw a staggering 115,628 renewals, with 3,537 Flyer IDs renewed. Expired operator IDs increased slightly, reaching 58,380.
As the market continued to mature, 58,380 operator IDs expired, and 115,628 were renewed. While the uk drone statistics show expired operator IDs slightly increased, the number of renewals remained strong, showcasing the continued interest and investment in drone operations.
Flight Restrictions Breaches By Drone
According to a Freedom of Information Request to the CAA:
Between 20 January 2022 and 1 September 2022, there were 239 suspected breaches of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) by drones in the UK.
This statistic highlights the importance of awareness and adherence to flight regulations to ensure the safety of both drone operators and the general public.
Drone operators must adhere to specific flight restrictions, including maintaining a 50-metre distance from people and property and avoiding no-fly zones, such as airports and military bases.
Additionally, drones must not fly higher than 120 metres (400 feet) and must remain within the operator’s line of sight.
UK Drone Market Impact Statistics
The UK drone market has experienced rapid growth in recent years, driven by advances in technology and an increasing interest in the diverse applications of drones.
As the UK market continues to expand, it is essential to understand the impact of this cutting-edge technology on various sectors, the economy, and the job market.
Significant Cost Reductions in the TMT Sector
The UK’s technology, media, and telecoms (TMT) sector is expected to experience the largest cost reductions from drone usage, amounting to £4.8 billion by 2030.
Impact: This drone statistic UK highlights the potential for drones to revolutionize the TMT sector by streamlining operations, reducing costs, and increasing efficiency.
These cost savings can be reinvested in research and development, fostering further innovation and growth within the industry.
Increased Multi-Factor Productivity Across the UK Economy
Cost savings from drone adoption will contribute to a 3.2% increase in multi-factor productivity across the UK economy.
This UK drone statistic emphasizes the transformative impact drones can have on the overall productivity of the country. By introducing drones into various sectors, businesses can optimize their processes, reduce operational costs, and enhance their overall productivity, ultimately benefiting the UK economy.
Substantial GDP Uplifts in Construction, Manufacturing, and Public Sector
The UK construction and manufacturing industry could see a GDP uplift of £8.6 billion, while the public sector may experience an £11.4 billion increase.
This drone statistic showcases the far-reaching economic benefits that drone technology can bring to key industries. The construction and manufacturing sectors can leverage drones for accurate site surveys, improved project management, and streamlined logistics.
In the UK public sector, drones can enhance services such as emergency response, healthcare delivery, and environmental monitoring, all contributing to a more efficient and resilient economy.
The Long-Term Transformation of Jobs and Work
The use of drones and automation may initially result in job redundancies, but the long-term impact will lead to the creation of new jobs and a transformation in work and life.
This drone statistic UK highlights the potential for drones to reshape the labor market. While some job losses are expected in the short term, the increased efficiency and productivity resulting from drone adoption will create new opportunities in sectors like manufacturing, software development, and drone services.
As the market matures, the UK workforce will need to adapt and acquire new skills to stay competitive in a drone-enabled economy.
Growth of Drone Usage in the Public Sector
By 2030, there are projected to be 76,000 drones in UK airspace, with 36% of them being used by the public sector for defense, health, and education purposes, contributing to a safer UK.
This drone statistic UK demonstrates the increasing role of drones in the public sector, offering improved services and enhanced safety measures. Drones can be used for search and rescue missions, medical supply deliveries, and remote education, among other applications.
As drone technology continues to evolve, the public sector’s reliance on these devices is expected to grow, providing a range of benefits to UK citizens.