Information for operators of drones, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems).

Guidance for Flying Unmanned Aircraft (UAVs/Drones) over Council land

Rules introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requiring Council approval to be obtained to operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) over Council land came into effect on 1 August 2015.

This guidance is prepared to provide the conditions under which such activities will be permitted on public land under the control of Thames-Coromandel District Council.

This guidance applies to all aircraft that are subject to CAA Rule Part 101.


Flying of UAVs over our Council land is permitted so long as the flyer complies with the following guidelines:

  • Flyers must be aware of and comply with: Civil Aviation Authority rules relating to the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • Be aware of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner guidance on preserving peoples' personal privacy by not flying over other people or adjoining private property.
  • Be courteous of other people and animals.
  • Do not take photographs of other people without their prior approval.
  • Do not operate over a sports field in use by others.
  • Do not fly over any roads.
  • Do not fly over any parked vehicles.
  • Do not operate within 20 metres of sensitive wildlife habitats or nesting or roosting birds.
  • Do not operate within 20 metres of any public building.
  • Be in full view and under direct control of the operator at all times.
  • Fly in daylight hours only.
  • Cease operation if requested by Council staff.
  • Do not fly within 4km of any airfield unless as a shielded operation.

The CAA rules allow flying within 4km of aerodromes if you are flying as a shielded operation. This means that you fly your UAV within 100m of a natural or man-made object like trees, buildings and cliffs, and below the top of it. This will keep you out of any flight paths.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Civil Aviation Guidance

Below is an extract from the Civil Aviation Authority website which sets out a general guide for flying a UAV. If you fly a UAV often or commercially, you may want to get in touch directly with the CAA to become a registered user.

This is not intended to be in substitution for the responsibility of all individuals to read and become familiar with the detailed provisions and requirements of all CAA rules applicable to the flying of UAVs.

As a general guide, you can fly your UAV:

  • in uncontrolled airspace below 400 feet (approx. 120 metres) above ground level
  • during daylight hours
  • within visual line of sight (rule part 101.209 Visual line of sight operation)
  • clear of all manned aircraft
  • outside of airspace restricted areas unless you have the permission of the controlling authority (e.g. military operating areas)
  • outside of low flying zones
  • not within 4km of any aerodrome (unless certain conditions are met)
  • within controlled airspace if air traffic control authorisation is obtained
  • within controlled airspace as a 'shielded operation' with no air traffic control authorisation. Note: A shielded operations is an operation of an aircraft within 100 metres of, and below the top of, a natural or man-made object, outside of the boundary of all aerodromes and in airspace that is physically separated from the aerodrome by a barrier that is capable of arresting the flight of the aircraft 
  • if you have consent of anyone you want to fly above
  • if you have the consent of the property owner or person in charge of the area you want to fly above
  • if you have an understanding of the airspace and any restrictions in the area where you are operating.