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Stansted Airport's no-fly zone for drones extended

PUBLISHED: 13:20 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:20 13 March 2019

Campaigners are to claim Ryanair is one of Europe's biggest polluters in a fresh legal bid against the expansion of Stansted airport Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Campaigners are to claim Ryanair is one of Europe's biggest polluters in a fresh legal bid against the expansion of Stansted airport Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

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A no-fly zone for drones around Stansted Airport has been increased from 1km to 5km today to prevent anti-social behaviour and disruption to passengers.

The extended 'no fly zone' around Stansted that Essex Police hope will help minimise disruption to passengers and prevent anti-social drone flying around the airport. Picture: ESSEX POLICEThe extended 'no fly zone' around Stansted that Essex Police hope will help minimise disruption to passengers and prevent anti-social drone flying around the airport. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

The increased restriction is now in place around all UK airports and airfield runways, meaning no drones or model aircraft can be flown in this area.

However Essex Police, alongside Stansted’s operator, Manchester Airport Group (MAG) and the National Air Traffic Service (NATS), have been given unique permissions to fly police drones within the zone in order to prevent, detect and disrupt crime.

Airport Commander Superintendent Richard Phillibrown said: “We are all aware of the disruption caused at Gatwick Airport towards the end of last year after a drone was reported to have been seen near to the runway.

“Whilst this new initiative has been in planning for a while and has not come about as a direct result to the Gatwick incident, we recognise this issue may affect the day-to-day running of Stansted Airport and the safety of passengers.

“We have been using drones across the force to investigate crime for the past two years and our plans to utilise the technology at Stansted Airport have been developed over the past 18-months.”

A team of officers have received specialist training to operate Essex Police’s drones within the ‘no fly zone’.

Regular police drone patrols will be put in place to detect various types of criminal activity around Stansted, such as criminal damage, car theft and suspicious behaviours.

Supt Phillibrown continued: “As technology evolves, so do the methods criminals use to commit crime.

“Thanks to the special permissions given to us by NATS, we are able to make use of drone technology to monitor the airport and the surrounding area, investigating suspicious behaviour and quickly responding to any concerns raised to our officers or airport staff.”

Essex Police hope this will minimise any potential disruption to passengers while providing an additional tool to help police the airport and prevent terrorism.

Anyone found to be in breach of the ‘no fly zone’ may be prosecuted.

London Stansted’s operations director, Nick Millar, added: “We fully support the plans developed by Essex Police to utilise the force’s drones at London Stansted to assist in the prevention and detection of any criminal activity at or near the airport.

“We also welcome the extension of the no-fly zones around UK airports and the introduction of additional powers for the police.”

For more information about the laws and regulations, visit the Essex Police website.

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