Why professor thinks a drone ban is good news for Coventry – but others don’t

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A university professor who researches drones has praised the city council for moving to ban them.

The authority is set to introduce a new policy banning people from flying the machines on council-owned land in the city due to a "growing number of issues with this type of activity".

Among the concerns about the technology is the fact they can be used to spy on people when cameras are attached.

Other people have contacted the council to complain they are too noisy and can hurt people and wildlife, particularly when they are landing.

The move to ban drones in Coventry – which will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday (December 10) – comes just weeks after the technology caused chaos at Gatwick Airport.

Stock image: Drones could be banned from flying on council-owned land in Coventry.

More than 140,000 passengers were left stranded during 36 hours of disruption after drones were first spotted on the airfield on the evening of December 19.

And it is a move popular with David Dunn, professor in International Politics at the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham.

Professor Dunn and his Team at the University of Birmingham have undertaken research on the Nefarious and Criminal Use of Drones over the last five years.

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Mr Dunn says Coventry City Council is sensible to act now to prevent the misuse of drones.

He said: "The decision by Coventry City council to ban the use of drones in its parks and on its land shows the growing awareness of the potential dangers from the misuse of drones.

"Coventry’s decision follows that of Leicester City Council and numerous local authorities across the world who have taken action to limit drones use.

"It demonstrates both a local awareness of the problem from first-hand experience and a frustration at the lack of effective central Government legislation and guidelines.

"Whereas some countries like Sweden have brought in tight restrictions such as a ban on drones with cameras, the UK has been slow to respond to this new technological development."

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He added: "Research at the University of Birmingham shows that security officials responsible for the safety of critical infrastructure and crowded places are concerned about the threat that the misuse of drones presents.

"Our research, based on contact with these individuals, calls for greater regulation, registration, licensing and the requirement for insurance of drone use.

"It has also long called for drone surveillance technology and counter drone measures at airports and other sites.”

Not popular with all

But the move to ban drones in the city is not popular with all.

CoventyLive asked readers whether they believed drones should be banned in the city in a poll.

More than 1,000 people voted, with 64 per cent saying they did not want to see drones banned in the city.

James Cherrill wrote on CoventryLive's Facebook page: "Having been flying drones now for over three years, as a hobbiest this is the biggest disappointment I could face.

"The reasoning the council is putting forward for banning model aircraft just doesn’t hold up.

"Concerned about liability – anyone with any common sense will have liability insurance (my cover is for 25 million).

"Invasion of privacy – already covered under the air navigation order by the CAA (must be at least 150m away from any person, vehicle or structure not under your direct control).

"I can’t argue the noise one as drones will make some noise due to the way they work but if your following the rules then at most this will sound like a lawnmower in the distance.

"The wildlife argument almost carries merit. If there are birds nesting nearby then a drone may disrupt them. But there is no evidence of this.

"On the whole responsible drone pilots are being vilified in the mass media.

"My experience of the hobby is very different and the people who come to talk to me when I go flying are always interested and want to know more about this wonderful hobby.

"If the council pass this rule then I hope that they will at least provide us somewhere we can go and fly."

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