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The use of drones in University activities is widespread, and constantly increasing.   Their uses include aerial filming and inspection work – for example, marketing (aerial photography), surveys (building roofs, tall chimneys) - and research activities (including land and water surveys in Geography projects). These devices clearly have enormous potential, but there are a number of regulatory, safety and privacy issues that must be addressed before staff or students construct and/or operate them, or engage a third party to do so.


 This webpage is currently under revision. 

New legal requirements covering the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones came into force at the end of 2019.  These now require all drone operators and pilots to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and to obtain either an Operator ID, a Flyer ID or both.  The policy is currently being revised accordingly.  The new legal requirements place duties on the following people:

Operator: An Operator is responsible for ensuring that only those with a Flyer ID use their drone or UAV – this responsibility will lie with a Manager or Principal Investigator within the University.  An Operator (i.e. the manager or PI of a group using drones) must register for an Operator ID here.  All drones under the control of that Operator must be labelled with this Operator ID.

 Flyer: A flyer is the pilot of the drone or UAV.  A Flyer must sit an online theory test and obtain a Flyer ID. This can be done here.  Flyers must only fly drones that have been labelled with an Operator ID. 

 Note: CAA issued Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) holders are exempt from the Flyer ID and Operator ID requirement but must still complete the notification form informing flight purpose, dates and times.

 Action needed:

  • Please register yourself as an operator or flyer via the CAA website.
  • If you are planning to undertake a flight please complete the notification form below.  This is not an approval process, but allows the University to monitor flights and ensure those undertaking them are registered to do so.
  • If you have any queries please email drones@contacts.bham.ac.uk

If you intend to fly a drone, please complete the notification form.

This webpage provides links to University policy and guidance, sample risk assessments, articles and links of interest.

Sample documentation

Risk Assessments

Here are some examples of risk assessments for drone flights.  The content is meant as a general guide to the types of hazard that may need to be considered when planning a drone flight and is NOT exhaustive.  They refer to the use of Standard Operating Procedures, which should be drawn up for drone flights and which should provide detailed information on the operation of the drone.

Example Drone Flight Risk assessment - Hooe Lake

Example Drone Flight Risk assessment - USAR Lincolnshire

Example Drone Flight Risk assessment - Haytor and Quarries

Useful website links

Civil Aviation Authority

CAP 393: The Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) and Regulations
Civil Aviation Authority CAP 398 

CAP 722: Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in UK Airspace – Guidance
Civil Aviation Authority CAP 722

No Fly Zones for Drones in the UK
No Fly Zones for Drones, UK

Links for Data Protection:
CCTV Code of Practice
University Data Protection Policy
ICO guidance on unmanned aerial systems (UAS)


Professional Services