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UK law - flying over private land?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Trumple, Jun 26, 2015.

  1. Trumple

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    Hi all,

    I was flying at a country park today when a council worker spotted me and told me that I wasn't allowed to fly there as it was "private land" owned by the council (despite it being a public park...?). He listed a series of nearby airspaces as another reason why I'm not allowed to fly (though I had checked weeks in advance that I was well outside of them, so I knew he was skewing the truth in order to pressure me to leave). I wasn't about to argue with him as I didn't have any proof handy (I will print out the CAA regulations and aerodrome/airspace maps in future). I made sure I was >50m away from people, buildings, vehicles, etc., and I'm confident that in the eyes of the CAA, the flight was entirely legal. However, he insisted that I was not allowed to fly there as it was privately owned by the local council.

    Firstly, is a country park that is open to the public really "private land"?

    Secondly, what land in the UK ISN'T private/owned land? Surely if this was the case, we wouldn't be allowed to fly anywhere at all!

    Thirdly, I know the CAA makes no mention of flying over private land (since real planes obviously have to) but it does mention that you should seek permission from the land owner in order to take off from said land. How do you get around this? How are we supposed to fly anywhere at all? Where do you typically take off from?

    Thanks!
     
  2. gingerbloke

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    In my experience the best thing to do is agree and move on. You'll never win with these people, best to let them think they've won and come back another day when they're not there.
     
    Trumple likes this.
  3. Trumple

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    Well, I know the hours these council workers work, and I also know the police are okay with me flying there since they thought it was "really cool" last time I flew it there, so you're right. However, I would like to have the best defence possible :)
     
  4. Pull_Up

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    Definitely smile politely and leave quietly. Even if you're in the right it's not worth a face-to-face argument there and then.

    Just because land is open to the public doesn't make it public land. Most council parks are not public land, hence the by-laws signs, "no ball games" and other rules and regs sometimes seen. Truly public land would include commons and anywhere with a public right of way (footpath, bridleway, national trail, etc) provided you stay on said right of way. There is no "private airspace" in the UK so flying over land is not an issue - although nuisance and privacy laws dictate the use of common sense here of course (as well as the 50m and 150m rules).

    In terms of your park, I have secured a blanket permission from my town council to fly in one of their parks. I wrote to the Town Clerk requesting permission, explaining what I wanted to do it for (photographs of the town from the air at different times of year), showing them a copy of my 3rd party liability insurance, and explaining my adherence to the ANO by stating remaining 50m from persons not under my control, etc. Because I approached it in this way they were more than happy, the only additional thing they wanted was a 1 page risk assessment for their files which was easy to put together. Having insurance in place was the key factor in giving them peace of mind I think. I get mine via www.fpvuk.org other providers are available. Whenever I fly there I carry a copy of the email from the Clerk giving permission.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  5. IrishSights

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    Country Parks here in Northern Ireland are managed by a gov dept, NIEA, not sure what its called now with these recent shakeups. There are the equivalent of bylaws with no RC flying in there. But that is takeoff not flying over. My local council has similar bylaws for their parks. So park flying is pretty much out here.

    I have a couple of friendly local farmers who let me fly from their fields if I check with them first for the fields free of stock.

    My favourite place to take off from is between high and low tide line, it's crown property. The Queen doesn't mind.
     
  6. Hughie

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    When it comes to council parks, forget the CAA for a minute. Check the bye-laws. My council (which is a fairly big city with lots and lots of council parks) outlaw RC flying from all except one park. The rules are there on their website, it was easy to find.

    I think this is a shame. I understand they are trying to minimise risk of damage and injury, but they just do not understand that after a small number of visits to the single permitted field there would be nothing of interest left to photograph. This combined with the fact that you have to fly there under the rules of the club (which by the way you would have to pay membership to), who are mainly fixed wingers. I dont particulary want to fly that way - where you have to turn up and queue for a 15 minutes slot, and can only fly at all when someone has check flighted you and decided you are competant to fly.

    The loophole is that the bye-laws list a lot of council parks and open spaces which one cannot fly in, but dont necessarily list all council land. I have found a couple of places which are not excluded because they dont appear in the list. All a bit of a pain though.
     
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  7. teccer

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    A few years ago when I was flying easystars with my buddy we used to get the same problem (you can't fly that here!!) but my buddy really went into this and found that any public footpath across the fields we could take off from and land back on the footpath provided that we also stayed on the footpath, later on, once again we were told (not here!!) but after explaining about the public footpath the guy was ok and then enjoyed watching us fly.

    check this out to see if it applies in your area
     
  8. sergekouper

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    If the parc is ownd by the council, they have the last word. "you must have permission from the land owner" to take off and land on the property. Access for the public doesn't mean public park.Even if the CAA rules are respected.. Now the guy starting to mention airspace classification is quite funny and out of his prerogatives... Also, the rules of the park are supposed to be displayed at the gates, and not flying RC models is one that is usually displayed if it is the case. I would call the council to report the problem and ask if yes or no.
    Also, FYI, the airspace doesn't belong to the landowner, which means that if you are in compliance with the CAA rules you can fly over, but you can't touch the ground... That said, the best is to avoid the confrontation and check for yourself.
     
  9. gingerbloke

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    My experience of confronting people like this with facts is that they become agitated and eventually just pull rank on you with a blanket 'No because I say so'. Smile, let them think they've won, come back later. They'll soon find someone else who's day needs spoiling.

    If you go visit the town hall you may find a plaque with the inscription "Non enim beata erit nisi sis miser" which roughly translates to "We're not happy unless you're not happy"

    :)

    A

     
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