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You say: Drones

You say: Drones

March 1, 2017

Do you have a story you want to tell about the National Park? A burning issue that you think needs to be raised publicly? We publish one story or comment about the National Park in our newsletter South Downs News each month and a response from the SDNPA.

Caroline Gorton from Brighton says:

“I have recently been very disturbed by the use of drones whilst I have been out walking. One stunning sunset evening near Alfriston a drone hovered above me for some time and then dropped to the path – some distance – but very much watching/filming. With no other person in sight it left me feeling very disturbed. Near Woodingdean there is a regular group of flyers with very noisy machines.

“Can we consider the option of making the South Downs a drone free area, can we limit the noise pollution? These are likely to become much more common and I would like to know if others share my views and if we could consider a consultation on this issue.”

Vicky Lawrence, Countryside and Policy Manager for the South Downs National Park Authority, replies:

“Drones are the latest in a number of activities which can cause disturbance. In recent years the use of drones has escalated dramatically – for leisure purposes as well as survey and monitoring uses.

“At some locations within the South Downs National Park the noise and disturbance caused by drones is becoming a significant problem as it reduces the sense of tranquillity – one of the qualities that makes the South Downs special. Our main area of concern is the cumulative impact that drone use can have on tranquil areas and wildlife in the National Park.

“Drones can also however be enormously useful, for example for emergency services, to collecting evidence for research projects and to carry out surveys.

“There are laws relating to privacy and safety around the use of drones and, if you feel that these are being broken, your best recourse is to seek legal advice, or contact 999 in an emergency. The use of drones generally is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority, who can provide further information.

“Our response to the current Government consultation will also include the issue of drone racing as we don’t believe that current proposals take enough account of its impact.”

Vicky recently chaired a meeting on the issue of drones in the National Park attended by representatives for the National Trust, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Brighton & Hove City Council and Eastbourne Borough Council. She is leading on the SDNPA’s response to the Department for Transport’s consultation on the civil use of drones.

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