The UK government is planning to set out new measures to regulate drones. Under the government's upcoming legislation, drone operators will have to sit safety awareness tests and the owners of drones weighing more than 250g will need to register. The government is also considering the potential restriction of all drones flying above 400 feet, as well as the use of them near the airports. The proposed Drone Bill is expected to be introduced in spring 2018.

The British government is looking to include in the draft bill new police powers where drone users would need to provide registration documents on request. Also, the police officers will be able to ground drones and to seize and retain them if there is a reasonable suspicion of drones having been involved in a criminal activity.

Moreover, drone operators will be required to use apps “so they can access the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally,” the UK government stated.  According to the UK Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg, as well as safety issues, apps can help avoid compromising the security of surrounding organizations or industries such as national infrastructure, government and military sites. The app's information can also advise on any particularly sensitive local zones, such as schools and residential areas, to respect the privacy of others.

The British government is working with the UK drone manufacturers to use geo-fencing to prevent drones from entering restricted zones.

 “If we are to realize the full potential of this incredibly exciting technology, we have to take steps to stop illegal use of these devices and address safety and privacy concerns,” Baroness Sugg said in an official statement. “These new laws strike a balance, to allow the vast majority of drone users to continue flying safely and responsibly, while also paving the way for drone technology to revolutionize businesses and public services.”

The bill has been welcomed by the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK. Policy Director at the CAA Tim Johnson said that “drones can bring economic and workplace safety benefits but to achieve those we need everyone flying a drone now to do so safely.”

According to British Airline Pilots Association, there was a sharp rise in reported accidents with drones in 2016 – up from 29 to 71. In 2017, this number is already exceeded, as there are 81 reported near misses this year.

“It soon became clear that without the right rules and regulations in place to enable them [drones] to share airspace safely, these devices could pose a huge threat to commercial aircraft,” BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said in an official statement, following the government announcement on drones. “These proposals are a step towards the safe integration of drones, but until the new rules are in place the threat of a serious collision remains.”

One of the riskiest drone accidents in the UK happened on July 9, 2017, when a drone put 130 lives at risk when it passed directly over the wing of an aircraft approaching Gatwick Airport, BBC informed. The plane managed to avoid the collision and landed safely.

After the incident, on July 22, 2017, the UK Department for Transport announced its plans for a drone registration system and safety tests for the drone users.