We are receiving an increasing number of enquiries about filming with drones. 

To help with requests, we have produced some guidelines, which we will require you to follow.

For more information, please email communications@northdevon.gov.uk

Drone filming guidelines

Drones are more formally known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

If the council wishes to film using a drone, we will only hire a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licensed pilot/company.

A pilot also requires permission of the landowners to take off and land the drone on their property. Therefore, if we are approached by a company, requesting to drone film on our land, they must be CAA licensed.

If they are licensed they should have a valid “Permissions for Aerial Works” certificate. If the pilot is not licensed they will not be insured or have public liability cover and they are not allowed to work/provide commercial services.

We will ask a drone pilot for an up-to-date copy of their insurance prior to giving permission.

A pilot cannot fly a drone directly over people, roads or buildings which have not been given permission from the person and/or landowner. Drones can fly directly over or near to people who are deemed “under control” – for example, actors, presenters, extras. They would need to be safety briefed and aware that they are going to be filmed by a drone.

Drones can fly up to 400ft (restricted air space starts at 500ft).

Sub 7k rig drone cannot fly within 50 metres of a property, road, members of the public where the landowner has not given permission for filming. A drone over 7k rig must have at least 150 metres clearance of a property where permission has not been obtained.

The pilots may be required to contact air traffic control when flying near to an airport or aerodrome, so that the drone can operated safely a certain height on a specified date and time.

Drones cannot be flown at night (or out of daylight hours) unless the company has special permissions for night time flying.

Using a drone to record images of other people without their consent could be construed as a breach of the Data Protection Act or the CCTV Code of Practice which was recently extended to include public use of drones where they are collecting information about individuals.

Any qualified drone pilot should complete a site assessment before agreeing to undertake a job. They will need to check various factors including if they are in restricted airspace. The responsibility of any flight and its legalities rests with the drone operator and if the CAA conditions are broken, this may invalidate their insurance policy.

To find out more, visit the CAA website – flying unmanned aircraft section.
Further guidelines are also available on the BBC website.