Documents to download

At the outset of the short 2019 session, the Government undertook to introduce an aviation bill to “provide for the effective and efficient management of the United Kingdom’s airspace”. This commitment was repeated following the December 2019 general election. The Government has explained the main objectives of the bill’s three substantive parts. In summary, these would:

  • confer new government powers to direct an airport or other relevant body to prepare and submit a proposal to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to change the design of airspace;
  • modernise the licensing framework for air traffic control; and
  • confer new powers for police and prison authorities to tackle the unlawful use of unmanned aircraft (UA). This would include drones and model aircraft. These powers include the ability to require a person to land UA and enhanced stop and search powers when UA-related offences are suspected.

The provisions in the bill would extend and apply to the whole of the UK. Whilst civil aviation (including airspace) is a reserved matter, the UA provisions are subject to legislative consent from the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly.

Many of the proposals contained in the bill have been the subject of government consultations. Those concerning new powers to direct individual air change proposals and to update the air traffic licence process were welcomed by a majority of respondents. In addition, a majority of respondents were reported to have expressed support for a new police power to request evidence in cases of suspected UA misuse. Support for extending stop and search powers to include cases involving UA was more qualified. The Government has noted that the consultation in which this issue was raised predated the high-profile UA disruption at Gatwick Airport in December 2018.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • Electric scooter regulation: should the law be changed?

    According to UK law, electric scooters can only be used on private land. However, the Government is considering whether the law should be changed. As part of this consideration, the Department for Transport introduced legislation in July 2020 to enable rental e-scooter trials to take place on public roads and cycle lanes across the UK. The Government awaits the outcome of these trials before making a decision on whether to change the law.

    Electric scooter regulation: should the law be changed?
  • Full steam ahead: a century of railway governance

    This year marks 100 years since the Railways Act 1921, also known as the ‘Grouping Act’, came into force. The act reorganised ownership of the railways, merging 120 railway companies into four regional groups. These groups became known as the ‘big four’. Fast forward 100 years, and the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail is set to change the organisation and ownership of the railways once more. This article explores these changes.

    Full steam ahead: a century of railway governance