Drones

Recreational use of any drones or small unmanned aircraft of any mass, including small toys, is prohibited in Hillingdon's parks and open spaces.

Policy information

The policy takes a 'total airspace' approach, authorising proportionate measures locally to help prevent and tackle unauthorised drone activity in parks, open spaces and other land owned by the council. Hillingdon is unique, with approximately 74% of the borough's airspace covered by the national drone "no-fly" zones around airfields.

This includes Heathrow Airport, RAF Northolt and Denham Aerodrome, where it is illegal to fly any drone of any mass (including toys) without explicit permission. In summary, the council's policy provides:

  1. Information to residents and drone users in the borough of the national flight restriction and runway protection zones and that in these zones around airfields and airports, it is illegal to fly a drone or SUA of any mass, even small toy drones, without airport/air traffic control approval.
  2. Zero tolerance for any recreational drone or SUA use in council parks and open spaces outside flight restricted zones without consent. Those using drones are liable to an on-the-spot fine of £100, and in the event of a failure to pay, a £1,000 penalty.
  3. Prohibition on the use of drones or SUAs for any filming on council land, unless in a highly exceptional case, with new commercial fee arrangements for such filming.
  4. Prohibition on commercial use of drones or SUAs on council land, unless it relates to essential public or industrial safety use, e.g. checking integrity of high rise structures.
  5. Permission available for local model flying clubs to use council land, but strictly subject to the council's consent and any airport permissions required.
  6. Special exemptions over council land for essential government, military and emergency service use of drones or SUAs, where not already granted.
  7. For other land of significance contracted or leased by the council, e.g. school playing fields and sports fields, such agreements by the council may also restrict any drone or SUA use. 
  8. New planning informatives to advise developers of the flight restriction zones and to avoid non-essential drone or SUAs in high risk public areas, e.g. for marketing purposes.


The council's policy will continue to provide for essential drone use for public safety and accredited activities by organisations such as model flying club operators, subject to the requisite permissions required. 

Page last updated: 12 Sep 2019