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Drone Guidance

Drone flying guidance

For commercial and private individuals over Rossendale Borough Council land

Over recent years Rossendale Borough Council has received requests from members of the public and businesses about filming with drones on council land, including in parks and public open spaces.

To help with requests, we have produced some guidelines, which we will require you to follow.

Drones are more formally known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and they cannot be flown from or above council land without permission granted by Rossendale Borough Council.

Permission will only be granted, where usage of a drone aids risk reduction in the work place such as working at height, land and building survey work and or undertaking a professional service such as at festivals and events.

If Rossendale Borough Council wants to film using a drone, we only use Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licensed officers/pilots. If we are approached by a company, requesting to drone film on our land, such as in one of our parks, they must be CAA licensed. If they are licensed they should have a valid permission for commercial operation (PfCO) certificate.

If the pilot is not licensed they will not be insured or have public liability cover and they are not allowed to work/provide commercial services. We will ask a drone pilot for an up-to-date copy of their insurance prior to giving permission.

A pilot cannot fly a drone directly over people, roads or buildings which have not been given permission from the person and/or landowner. 

Drones can fly directly over or near to people who are deemed "under control" - for example, actors, presenters and council staff. They would need to be safety briefed and aware that they are going to be filmed by a drone.

How to request Permission:

Via email:

In writing to: 

Service Manager
Operations Team
Rossendale Borough Council 
Henrietta Street Depot
Henrietta Street
OL13 0AR

Provide the following: 

1. A description of the purpose of the flight(s)

2. A copy of your public liability insurance (minimum £5 million)

3. A copy of your flight plan including launch and landing points

4. A copy of the risk assessment

Upon receipt of these documents, consideration and approval/rejection will be given within 10 working days.

Why we need a guidance:

  • Rossendale Borough Council granting permission could leave the authority liable for subsequent actions brought about by drone activity when operated from land under our ownership.
  • Many of our sites are close to neighbouring residential and business properties.
  • The potential risk of causing disturbance, annoyance or harassment to occupants and the users of public open space.
  • Potential risk of accident, injury to other site users or property as a result of user or drone error.

What you need to know:

  • Drones can fly up to 400ft.
  • A drone under 7k rig cannot fly within 50m of a property, road, residents where the landowner has not given permission for filming. 
  • A drone over 7k rig must have at least 150m clearance of a property where permission has not been obtained.
  • The pilots may be required to contact air traffic control when flying near to an airport or aerodrome, so that the drone can operated safely a certain height on a specified date and time.
  • Drones cannot be flown at night (or out of daylight hours) unless the company has special permissions for night time flying.
  • A pilot requires permission of the landowners to take off and land the drone on their property.
  • Using a drone to record images of other people without their consent could be construed as a breach of the Data Protection Act or the CCTV Code of Practice which was extended to include public use of drones where they are collecting information about individuals.
  • Any qualified drone pilot should complete a site assessment before agreeing to undertake a job. They will need to check various factors including if they are in restricted airspace. The responsibility of any flight and its legalities rests with the drone operator and if the CAA conditions are broken, this may invalidate their insurance policy.

To find out more, visit the CAA website - flying unmanned aircraft section