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Drone filming in Edinburgh

The City of Edinburgh Council has introduced a Drone Policy in response to an upsurge in public request and usage of drones (or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)) on council managed land including parks, roads and public open spaces. Following the update to the Civil Aviation Authority’s drone regulations on 31 December 2020, we have updated our guidance for drone usage in the city. 

In line with CAA guidance, The City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) should be contacted as a landowner with regard to access to Council land or property from which to launch or land a drone. The operator is responsible for the proper use of the airspace itself, and it is the responsibility of the operator to ensure compliance with the CAA regulations, the law, and terms of insurance. The key restriction that covers all drone activity is Article 241 of the Air Navigation Order 2016 which states that: “A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.”

Application Process

Applications should be made well in advance and should detail:

  • Nature of the proposed activity (e.g. filming, event, structural survey etc);
  • Operator details including Operator ID and Flyer ID if applicable;
  • Take-off and landing site(s), minimum distance from persons not directly under the operator’s control, whether the drone will fly above any people including pedestrians, roads and buildings;
  • Category and weight of UAS and CAA paperwork;
  • Public Liability Insurance and appropriate UAS insurance compliant to EC 785/2004
  • Risk Assessment and Method Statement which must be specific to the operation in question and include the maximum height, flight plan and control measures.

Depending on the assessment of the above further documentation is likely, these commonly include;

  • A Traffic Order or Traffic Notice as well as A Traffic Management Plan: required if the flight is close to or includes a highway. A fee will be applicable to obtain this additional permission.
  • Stewarding Plan: description and maps of what control measures will be in place and where stewards will be located whilst the UAS in use.

Drone use for commercial filming purposes should contact Film Edinburgh in the first instance, while drone users for other activities should contact the appropriate site manager (park / roads / building manager).