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U.K. CAA Considers Drone Licensing Fee

Would Charge Drone Owners £16.50 Every Year

The U.K. CAA is considering a licensing fee for drone owners under a new registration plan.

The BBC reports that the fee would be set at £16.50 ($21.64) annually for any drone that weighs more than eight ounces (250 grams). The plan would also require registration of those aircraft on a government database.

Drones could only be registered by persons over 18 years of age, according to the report, but would not apply to "remote pilots" who are licensed to fly unmanned aircraft but do not own them.

The CAA estimates that some 170,000 people will register, though they do not have a clear idea of how many drone users live in the U.K., according to the report. The agency has begun a consultation process for the proposal with a final decision expected in a couple of months.

By comparison, the U.S. registration fee is $5, while in Ireland, registration is set at €5 ($5.60). Registration in France is free. The CAA argues that its fee is higher because the comparable fees are subsidized by taxpayers in those countries.

The FPV UK Association strongly opposes the charges, calling them "far too high." The group's chief executive Simon Dale told the BBC that "criminals aren't going to register, so the safe and compliant people are the ones listed on the database.

Dale said the organization, which represents about 4,000 drone operators, will urge its members to contact their Members of Parliament to express their opposition to the plan.

(Image from file)

FMI: Source report


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