Whitstable harbour drone shot of harbour with boats in, town can be seen in background.

Drone filming in Whitstable © CNN/Wojciech Treszczynski

Filming with drones (also known as Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)) is becoming popular as they provide high-production value shots and flexibility with minimum disruption on the ground.

However, you need to be aware of the application process and permissions required for filming with drones.

There are 3 basic permissions needed to film with a drone:

  1. Operators license from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
  2. Permission from the land owner, manager or authority for the land where the drone will be taking off and landing.
  3. Permission from the land owner, manager or authority for any property in whose boundary the drone will be operated closer than 50 meters to any people, vehicles, buildings or structures.

CAA Approval
The Air Navigation Order 2016 is the legislation governing aircraft, including drones in the UK. Important points to note are that you must not use drones:

  • Within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or structures.
  • Over congested areas or large gatherings such as concerts and sports events.

To apply for a permit to fly a drone in any public spaces, please apply for a drone permit with Kent Film Office 

You will need to submit the following documentation from your drone operator:

  • A valid CAA licence for drone operator.
  • Risk Assessment and Flight Plan covering the drone operation applied for.
  • Public Liability Insurance covering the drone operator for a minimum of £5 million.
  • A statement that you will respect people’s privacy when flying in or over residential areas.

Please allow at least 3-5 working days’ notice for any filming involving drones depending on the area chosen.

If the drone is being flown in a busy area, you may also require Traffic Management or a Road Closure, Stewarding Plan and further consultations.

A permit to fly drones from Kent Film Office does not automatically include a blanket copyright or void any of the current privacy and copyright guidance and legislation.