New UK law will require drone users to take safety tests

Drone users in the UK might need to take safety awareness tests under legislation planned by the government.

Drones weighing over 250g could also be banned from flying near airports, or above 400 ft, in a crackdown on unsafe flying in the UK.

Police will also get new powers to seize and ground drones that may have been used in criminal activity.

The pilots' union, which had warned of near misses involving drones and aircraft, has welcomed the bill.

According to British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) 81 incidents had been recorded so far this year - up from 71 in 2016 and 29 in 2015.

The union's general secretary, Brian Strutton, said, "These proposals are a step towards the safe integration of drones, but until the new rules are in place the threat of a serious collision remains," BBC reported.

In July, a drone flew directly over the wing of a large passenger jet as it came in to land at London's Gatwick Airport. According to a report, the incident had put 130 lives at risk.

The proposed bill, which will be published in spring 2018, would ensure that owners of drones weighing over 250g would need to register and sit a test.

According to drone pilot and trainer Elliott Corke, director of HexCam, most recreationally and commercially-used drones in use weighed over 250g, apart from the cheap toy versions.

He told BBC News that many new users were surprised by the sheer number of rules around drone usage that already exist, under the Civil Aviation Authority's Drone Code.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport (DfT) said new drone-safety laws will help put the UK at the forefront of drone technology development.

Under the new measures, it will be mandatory for owners to register to improve accountability and they will also be required to use apps to allow access to the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally.

The clampdown is aimed at allowing drone users to continue flying safely and legally, to help place the UK at the forefront of the fast-growing drone industry.