Essex

Epping Forest Council buys drones staff cannot fly

drone Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Epping Forest Council said it was still working on a policy for using its two drones

A council which spent £5,000 on drones more than 12 months ago has admitted they are not in use because nobody is qualified to fly them.

Epping Forest Council agreed to buy the two drones in January 2016, saying they would be useful for planning, investigations and emergencies.

The council said it now hopes to be able to use the drones from June onwards, if staff pass pilot tests.

Concerns about the use of drones have been voiced by Big Brother Watch.

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Each drone cost £1,500 with a further £2,000 spent on software and training.

In a report put to the council at the time, one use suggested for the drones was to "spot people living in sheds".

Nobody from the Conservative-run council would be interviewed on the matter, first reported by the Telegraph.

In a statement, the council said: "We are still in the process of putting together training and documentation, including a policy.

"This policy will ensure usage fully conforms with the Human Rights Act, Data Protection Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act."

Dan Nesbitt, of Big Brother Watch, said drones did not offer any "unique benefit" over existing means of gathering information.

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