Chris Grayling 'shelved plans to regulate drones' before Gatwick chaos

Posted On: 
22nd December 2018

Chris Grayling shelved plans to regulate the use of drones and ignored numerous warnings about the disruption the devices could cause at airports, it has been reported.

Over 100,000 passengers at Gatwick faced delays as a result of the drones this week
Credit: 
PA

The Transport Secretary is under pressure over his response to the chaos at Gatwick Airport in recent days, which has seen thousands of passengers' travel plans disrupted by drones being flown above the runway.

According to The Times, legislation introducing further restrictions on drone use was due for publication in the spring, but civil servants were moved to work on Brexit instead, despite multiple warnings about the risks the devices could cause.

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Officials told the newspaper that the draft legislation would not be published until 2019. Meanwhile, the Government has not yet responded to a consultation on the plans that ended in September this year.

Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald said: "The Government has glaringly failed to heed the warning and bring forward the legislation that was promised more than a year ago. Once again, there is a lack of leadership from the Transport Secretary."

Gatwick was forced to briefly suspend operations again yesterday after a drone was spotted in the airport. Two people have been arrested in connection with the disruption. 

This week's incidents were not the first of their kind at Gatwick. In July 2017 the airport closed twice when someone flew a drone inside the airport's perimeter. Earlier this year, a drone flew just 20 feet away from of an aeroplane that had up to 180 passengers on board.