The European Commission has adopted a set of rules governing technical requirements for the responsible and sustainable operation of drones within the EU.
The new rules build on existing national legislation currently in place in Member States to define the parameters within which drones may be flown safely; while continuing to promote innovation and investment in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Commission intends to enlist the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to apply the safety standards used in manned aviation operations to the use of drones.
Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “Today’s decision is vital for the further development of the European drone sector. We wholeheartedly support the development of these new technologies and services, which are essential for the digitalisation and decarbonisation of the European economy. However, above all, we have to ensure that they are safe for other airspace users and people on the ground. The rules adopted today are a first building block for a comprehensive set of rules, which will ensure safe, secure and green drone operations throughout the European Union.”
The rules, drawn up under the Commission’s Aviation Strategy for Europe and designed to balance the responsibilities accorded to drone manufacturers and users, are to be based on comprehensive risk assessments and will delineate the obligations of drone operators in terms of overall safety; security and respect for others’ privacy; noise protection; and the environmental impact of UAV deployment. Drones built after the implementation of the new rules will be compelled to bear unique identification to enable authorities to trace them where necessary; and the Commission has declared its intention to adopt further legislation governing the training, certification and potential registration of drone owners and operators.
The adoption of an EU-wide set of harmonised rules governing safe and sustainable drone operation is expected to facilitate seamless cross-border UAV operation, as well as boosting the potential for innovation and investment in the sector.