The Emergency Services has an Exemption to certain requirements of the Air Navigation Order that it can use for the purposes of acting in the public interest to save life and limb. The exemptions can not be used for 'planned' operations' and can only be used in a similar respect to the Emergency Services using 'Blue Light' to exceed speed limits and go through red traffic lights.

The Exemption, ORS4 No.1233 - Small Unmanned Aircraft - Emergency Services Operations has now been withdrawn due to the wording not being in line with the new Implementing Regulations that came into law on the 31st December 2020.

The withdrawal has caused some confusion for Emergency Service Drone Operations and as such, we have contacted the UAS Sector at the CAA directly for clarification.

We have received the following:

‘We understand that the removal of ORS1233 from the CAA website has caused some confusion and questions.

The reason for this removal is that the ORS1233 document provided exemptions to Articles 94(3) and 95 of the Air Navigation Order 2016.

Article 95 was withdrawn and as such the Emergency Services Exemption was no longer fit for purpose.

At the moment the CAA are working with DfT to create a new MoU that will bring police forces and emergency services back in line with the Implementing Regulations, we appreciate that this is not likely to be something that will happen overnight.

As such we are asking for all users of the ESE to be able to continue operations as per normal, following the procedures in the now removed ESE, for the purposes of acting in the public interest to save life and limb.

This will allow for business continuity whilst the new MoU is being drafted’.


To summarise, the CAA is allowing users of the (now withdrawn) Emergency Services Exemption to follow the original procedures as per its original intentions and requirements.

If you have any further enquiries, the CAA ask that you direct them to so that they can follow up.

For clarification, the Exemptions as previously described in ORS4 No.1233 are for the Emergency Services only with a current Operational Authorisation and cannot be used by a member of the public, such as an individual, sole trader, or limited company.