One of the big questions that are hanging over the UK (other than Brexit in general!) is what will happen in regards to the UK adopting the upcoming regulations and how will we affected by them.
A draft 'Statutory Instrument'(SI) is being put forward called The Unmanned Aircraft (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. This Statutory Instrument is designed to bring the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and the Commision Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 in line with UK law, terminology and respected agencies.
So, what does this mean?
The key thing to take away from is that because we will no longer be a part of EASA and the European Union, the CE marking (being a European Union standards marking) needs to be replaced by an official marking recognised within the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom is replacing the CE Marking with what is being designated a 'UK Marking'.
What does this mean for manufacturers and certified drones?
The SI allows the UK to set its own standards for drones, whilst providing for continued recognition of current EU standards.
For manufacturers, the technical requirements will be the same as their EU counterparts, however, the marking on the aircraft if sold within the United Kingdom will eventually be a 'UK Marking'.
Until (and if) the UK designates its own technical standards for drones, unmanned aircraft and associated accessories which satisfy EU requirements after the transition period will be deemed to satisfy the UK requirements. This ensures that at a minimum, the same product standards as currently apply will be maintained, meaning that unmanned aircraft that lawfully bear the CE marking may continue to be put on the UK market.
The UK is keeping the transitional period, until 1 January 2023, permitting unmarked (CE or UK) unmanned aircraft (legacy drones) to continue to be placed on the market. The UK intends to designate its own standards by the time these transitional provisions cease to have an effect, although it looks like these should currently match the requirement for CE marked drones.
Beyond this, most other changes are minor and technical, e.g. removing references to EASA, EU; substituting words such as "Union" and "Union Market" with "United Kingdom" or substituting "“European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)” and "Member State of Registration" with “CAA".
This is the UK government getting its ducks in a row in regards to adopting the new regulations and ensuring that they conform with UK law outside of the European Union. This goes to show that the UK is committed to moving forward with the change of drone regulations and ensuring a smooth transition for UK operators as they start to use their A2 Certificate of Competency and the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate.
Although this is currently only a draft, we anticipate that this Statutory Instrument will be put forward for approval by resolution of each House of Parliament before the 31st December 2020.
The key thing to take away is that certified drones (when they hit the market) will need to have either a 'CE marking' or the soon to be 'UK marking'.
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