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Councils are Investing in Drones

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Councils up and down the UK are purchasing drones for various reasons including checking on people’s home extensions. North Yorkshire County Council recently invested 2,000 into purchasing one of these devices. They state that the drone will prove extremely useful to inspect sites suspected of breaching planning permission regulations.

In order to operate drones for commercial purposes, councils have to receive approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and over 20 have been granted this. Assistant Director of Growth, Planning and Trading Standards, Matt O’Neill said, “Like many councils, we use advances in technology to help us to work smarter. A drone is a useful addition to the tools available to the county council in various circumstances, enabling us to make more efficient use of our limited resources and to enhance health and safety.

“For example, it is useful in any work that requires inspections of land or buildings, such as maintenance assessments of property, bridges and footpaths. “The idea of using a drone arose from a workshop looking into service improvement and innovation. We researched the market and talked to other public sector drone users to identify the type of drone that would meet our requirements, taking specialist advice from our legal and finance teams.”

Thurrock Council in Essex are also benefiting from drone technology, stating that they are authorised to use drones to film, photograph and assess sites throughout the borough. They assert that drones or ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ [UAV] help to Detect and prevent crime, investigate reports of fly tipping and survey sites.

One of their main benefits is that they are able to observe sites from above, that would be very difficult from the ground. The council seek to put people’s minds at rest about privacy and safety, as they say strict controls are in place. The mechanisms are ‘flown’ by drone pilots, who have passed theory and practical assessments. Recordings made by drones will be securely stored and any irrelevant material to the investigation will be securely destroyed.

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