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Drone ban for children proposed

The Department for Transport is considering introducing the age restriction as part of a safety crackdown.

Children could be banned from owning drones weighing at least 250 grams.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is considering introducing the age restriction as part of a safety crackdown amid growing misuse of the gadgets.

Many small drones are lighter than 250 grams, but children would be stopped from owning heavier versions which can fly further and cause more damage.

Children would only be able to fly the heavier devices if they were owned and registered by an adult.

Other measures being considered include giving police the power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to £300 for misuse and the ability to seize drones being used irresponsibly.

The DfT is also considering using of new technology to protect public events, critical national infrastructure and prisons from drone disruption.

There are challenges we must overcome Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg

A consultation on the plans will be launched on Thursday. They are part of a wider programme of new drone legislation and will shape the content of a draft Drones Bill due to be published later this year.

DfT-funded research found that a drone weighing 400g could smash a helicopter windscreen, and one weighing 2kg could critically damage an airliner’s windscreen.

Last year an investigation revealed that police are being flooded with reports about drones after a dramatic surge in incidents registered by forces, including rows between neighbours, prison smuggling, burglary “scoping” exercises and snooping fears.

Figures obtained by the Press Association showed forces recorded 3,456 episodes in 2016, almost triple the 2015 figure of 1,237 and more than 12 times the 2014 tally of 283.

The number of near-misses between drones and aircraft has risen from six events in 2014 to 93 last year.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said: “Drones present exciting benefits to our society and our economy, but with a small group of people choosing to use them for harm there are challenges we must overcome if we are to prevent them hindering the potential of this technology.

“That’s why we’ve already introduced safety measures like a height limit, and rules around airports, and today we are consulting on how we go further, including extra police powers and a minimum age requirement.”

From Monday new rules will be introduced banning drones from flying above 400ft, and within one kilometre (0.6 miles) of airport boundaries.

Any breaching these restrictions will face penalties of up to £2,500 and could also be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft, which has a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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