What happens to drones in the UK after Brexit?

Brexit has generated insecurity in people and companies from the European Union and even from all over the world about what would happen next.

In the case of the products for sale on the market, the CE Marking has been replaced by the UKCA marking.

In the drone sector, this expectation was even worse with the entry into force of the new Regulation 2019/945.

The United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system as of January 01, 2021. As of that date, the EU law does not apply anymore in the UK, which is considered a third country.

However, according to Regulation 2019/945, the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operators established or residing in the UK must comply with Regulation 2019/947 for operations in the single European sky airspace.  In this case, the competent authority would be the competent authority of the first Member State where the UAS operator intends to operate.

Some questions may arise from this information, for example:

What is the exact procedure for obtaining the UKCA marking of a drone right now?

The answer is that there are currently no requirements to obtain a UKCA marking as the provisions in retained EU Delegated Regulation 2019/945 do not have practical effect until 1 January 2024.

What is the status of drone regulation on UKCA marking?

The Department for Transport of the UK is considering the recommendations the Civil Aviation Authority made in their response to their consultation on Extending the provisions for Legacy and Transitional Category UAS to remove this deadline.

What will happen with the pilot’s certificate?

If this certificate is issued by a third country, the UK in this case, it may be recognized by the competent authority of the EU Member State, taking into account that if the third country asked for such recognition, the certificate of the remote pilot competency or the UAS operator`s certificate are valid documents of the State of issue; and the Commission, after consultation of EASA, has ensured that the requirements on which such certificates have been issued provide the same level of safety as the Regulation (EU) 2019/945 does.

Drones in the UK after Brexit

The UK has not yet initiated the above recognition process, so as things stand, the UK certificates cannot be recognized yet for UAS operations within the single European sky airspace.

ALTER is the first Notified Body in Europe accredited to assess conformity to drones. The company provides drone services related to testing, regulatory support, and evaluation of agreements according to the COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) 2019/945, intended to be operated in the open category and remote identification add-ons.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to get your CE marking to sell your drones in the European Union before or after reaching the UKCA marking.

Source: EASA FAQ n.123767 and Goods Regulation (BEIS)