Crackdown on drones planned after latest near miss
Fresh curbs on drones are set to be announced next week following another near miss after a device came within a metre of a passenger jet.
Ministers are considering the introduction of a criminal offence of illegally operating a drone in a designated “no-fly zone” near prisons and airports, The Times reported.
The latest scare was disclosed by the UK Airprox Board, which monitors near misses in the sky.
It took place as an Airbus A319 with 156 passengers was coming into land at Liverpool John Lennon Airport on April 22.
In what is believed to be the closest near miss to be recorded, the drone passed by the aircraft’s wingtip.
“It was initially presumed to be a bird,” the board said. “However, as it got closer the [flying officer] realised it was a blue drone with flashing lights . . . His inability to avoid the object portrayed a situation where providence had played a major part in the incident.”
It is understood tougher laws would see a sharp increase in the existing maximum £2,500 penalty for breaking existing rules on drones.
The threat posed by drones has concerned regulators on both sides of the Atlantic with pilots complaining to the Federal Aviation Administration following a sharp increase in the number of near misses.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has also raised the issue.
Amazon is also drawing up plans to employ drones for deliveries.
In recent years the use of drones has increased. Some are used by hobbyists while others have been used by an array of companies, including estate agents taking aerial photographs of larger properties.