New drone law coming: Safety, manufacturing and use regulated in Spain

A NEW Bill of Law has been passed covering ownership and use of drones, and stipulates that a ‘safety study’ will be carried out on anyone who plans to fly them over people, residential hubs, at night, and through air space, before deciding whether the give them authorisation.

Flying drones through air space will require proper training and equipment, which must be accredited.

Until now, they have been banned near buildings, towns or groups of people in the open air, and also at night, but the new ‘Royal Decree’ – as a draft law is known in Spain – seeks to ‘adapt regulations to the emerging growth’ of drone use, which is ‘closely linked to technological development and innovation’.

It replaces the 2014 law with a ‘more flexible’ text, according to the Council of Ministers.

Permission to fly drones in previously-forbidden areas must be granted by the State Air Safety Agency (AESA) and may only be carried out by professionals.

A series of limitations applies to those flying drones for purely recreational use, such as for taking bird’s-eye view photographs for pleasure.

Additional details will be released as part of the public works ministry’s Drone Strategy Plan 2018, which will provide more concrete requirements and information on rights and duties of drone-users.

Around 3,000 operators, 3,693 ‘fliers’ and 4,283 drones are currently registered and in circulation in Spain, according to the AESA, along with 74 drone-training schools and 20 or so manufacturers.

These manufacturers will also be subject to new regulation under the forthcoming law, covering the making, design and maintenance of these remote-controlled ‘aircraft’.

The European Union and European Parliament tentatively agreed on the first common rules for non-military drone use in the 28-country bloc back in November, covering minimum safety, data protection, and a register of all drones in use.

Drones for non-military – professional or recreational – use is expected to make up 10% of the EU’s aviation market over the next 10 years, or around 15 billion units per year.

Brussels has calculated that the industry could end up creating up to 150,000 new jobs between now and the year 2050.