Using a drone in the Broads

Plan your visit, plan your flight!

The Broads Authority understand the attraction of drone flying in the Broads and as such have produced this guidance should you wish to operate in the Broads National Park. Further guidance for commercial operators is listed at the bottom of this page.

Be legal

Whether you want to fly your drone or report the misuse of a drone here are some things to be aware of:

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) specify that unless permission has been granted by them that you must not:

  • Fly above 120m (400ft)
  • Fly within 150m of a built-up or congested areas or crowds.
  • Fly closer than 50m to people or property.

You must also make sure to obey laws of privacy such as the Data Protection Act and the CCTV code of conduct if your drone is fitted with a camera.

(The definition of congested area: ‘Congested area’ in relation to a city, town or settlement means any area which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes’)

You must:

  • Be aware of restricted airspace and other air traffic.
  • Have landowner permission for your take-off and landing zones. (Please note that the Broads Authority only leases or owns small plots of land. These are mostly mooring sites and generally not suitable launching drones. During good weather and holidays many of these plots of land could be classed as a ‘congested areas’ or contain crowds)
  • Keep the drone within eye sight not exceeding 500 metres from operator.
  • Maintain a distance of 50 metres separation (with regard to ANO Article 241 from “A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property” and Article 94 (2) “The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made.”)

If you are concerned that someone is using a drone illegally, please contact the police.

Be Safe

Safe operating is crucial and we expect anyone operating in the Broads National Park to:

  • Know your drone – practise, understand its features in a controlled environment before operating in the Broads.
  • Maintain a distance of 50 metres from people, livestock, buildings and vehicles.
  • Identify a safe place to land and take off from (with landowner permission)
  • Visit Drone Safe for more information

Be considerate

Wildlife and livestock

The Broads is home to some of the UK’s rarest species and much of it is designated as a National Nature Reserve and SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

Butterflies and dragonflies are particularly vulnerable as are nesting birds (nesting season is March to September) and we expect any operator to take great care not harm or disturb any wildlife or livestock. Please seek permission to fly over these areas by consulting the relevant organisation.

People

The Broads is treasured by locals and tourists alike for its peaceful landscape, big skies and meandering waterways. With this in mind be aware that the use of drones can be a nuisance to, and detract from others enjoyment of the area; please land your drone if someone is disturbed by it.

Boating and drones

We do not recommend launching a drone from a vessel on the Broads, even if you are stationary for these reasons:

  • A boat is relatively small and dangerous place given that very cold water is only ever a step or slip away and your focus is directed toward your drone.
  • The ‘return to home’ (RTH) safety feature is not accurate enough to land in such a small area and the drone is very likely to land in the water or dangerously close to a third party should the transmitter or battery fail and the drone activate its RTH feature.
  • During the summer and holiday season areas of the Broads can become a ‘Congested area’ increasing the risk of an accident and the likelihood of disturbing other people.

Commercial operators

Any commercial operator wishing to use the Broads for filming or stills must abide by the advice above and also contact the Broads Authority via email or telephone so we can discuss your request. Here are a few details that we expect:

  • CAA permission number
  • Insurance details
  • Full name and contact details
  • Risk assessment
    Operational details

Disclaimer

Whilst the above is intended to be a useful guide it is the pilot/operator’s responsibility to ensure that any activities which carried out are within the law. This is the case whether your UAS/SUA/SUAV or drone is on land or airborne and that you should not infringe the public or private legal rights of other individuals. Broads Authority accepts no responsibility for those relying on this guide in the event that they face legal action by third parties while operating any drone.