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New drone legislation made consistent across the EU

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Up until now, drone legislation across the European Union has been inconsistent across member states, making it more confusing for photographers traveling through Europe. However, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has now produced a set of rules and tiers for several categories of drones, making EU drone legislation more consistent and easier to understand. 

Since drones exploded in popularity, countries across the world have been racing to keep up with this new technology. For a period of time, there were a series of incidents involving drones that could have been avoided with the proper care and attention of the pilot.

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Since then, there has been plenty of attempts to legislate for drone technology. However, the latest laws surrounding drones seem to be much easier to understand. The tiered structure of all the different kind of drones helps prevent any confusion. Drones will now be categorized by their weight. For example, the DJI Mavic Mini (opens in new tab) and DJI Mini 2 are categorized as C0 which is the first among the five categories. A drone of this weight does not require any authorization however, it does have a set of rules that must be followed.

Heavier drones, such those in the Phantom series from DJI, will have more stringent rules attached to them. These drones will require the pilot to pass an online test and also register the drone. The registration number will also be required to be displayed on the drone too.

Drones purchased after the 1st January 2021 will require a CE class identification label to determine its category. This helps because if you own multiple drones, the classification on the drone itself will tell you which specific rules to follow.

A whole list of rules have been produced as a PDF file and can be found using this link here. The the top right hand corner shows the classification of drone the rules are referring to.

Several countries that are not part of the EU will also be following these rules. These include Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The United Kingdom will seemingly be following rules set by the Civil Aviation Authority, although it's not yet clear if the UK will have similar rules to EASA.

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Usman is a commercial and architectural photographer based in West Yorkshire, who has been working professionally for over seven years. He has also spent over four years as a writer for the biggest photography sites in the world, including Staff Writer for Digital Camera World, senior staff writer for FStoppers, and tech writer for Petapixel. 


With a particular interest in technology developments, high-resolution imaging and the high-end cameras, Usman has been on the cutting edge of camera news as well as writing features about medium format systems and global shutters, and has reviewed some of the latest Leica cameras as well as a tripod that’s even taller than Andre the Giant!