Drone flights banned near Dover port amid security fears

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The Port of DoverImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The new legislation said the port was "critical national infrastructure"

Drones have been banned from flying near the Port of Dover.

Legislation was put in place by the government after a request from port officials, who argued it was a "site of critical national infrastructure".

Unmanned aircraft cannot be used below 1,000ft above sea level and within 2.25 nautical miles - creating an exclusion zone along the coastline.

Drone sightings at Gatwick in December caused about 1,000 flights to be cancelled or diverted over 36 hours.

A number of other airports, including Heathrow, have also been forced to suspend flights due to drone activity this year.

Image source, NATS
Image caption,
An exclusion zone stretches more than 2.5 miles along the Kent coastline

The Port of Dover said it was "the first port in the country to be a granted its own legislation for the restriction of flying drones in or over the port."

The regulations, issued under Air Navigation Order 2016 by the Transport Secretary in October, came into force on 1 November.

Drone flights have been restricted in the vicinity of the port, "owing to its status as critical national infrastructure and its associated national security risk", it states.

Exempt from the restrictions are Port of Dover Police, Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, balloons and kites and any unmanned aircraft operating with the permission of the Port of Dover Police.

UK Airprox Board figures show there were 125 near-misses between drones and aircraft reported in 2018. There were 93 during the previous year.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
There were 125 near-misses between drones and aircraft in 2018

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