The Falkland Islands government has issued a Direction banning flying small unmanned aircraft over minefields. Contraveners can be liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £ 2.500.
The decision follows an incident of a small unmanned aircraft (SUA) being flown low over a minefield, creating an unacceptable risk to persons engaged in mine clearance operations. As a result a Direction has been issued prohibiting the use of SUA within the vicinity of minefields where persons are working.
The Direction is issued with immediate effect in exercise of the powers under Article 68(1) of the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013.
Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) are also commonly referred to as drones, quadcopters, small unmanned surveillance aircraft (SUSA) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), etc. The new Direction prohibits the operations of SUA at any height directly over or closer than 500m horizontally to a minefield where persons are working.
Any person who contravenes this Direction may be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £2,500.
Teams of experts are currently involved in mine clearance operations in the Falklands, helping to recover land which has been out of bounds since the 1982 war, when retreating Argentine military planted thousands of anti personnel and anti tank ordnance.