Droning on... Forestry Commission Scotland

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Well done Forestry Commission Scotland

Hot on the heels of the ridiculous attempt by Ashdown Forest to try and regulate airspace, Forestry Comission Scotland announced that drones were not permitted in their forests;

Flying drones (unmanned aircraft) as an informal activity or hobby is not allowed on Scotland's National Forest Estate. This is because this activity is often incompatible with responsible access under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, particularly in a working forest environment, instances where people are enjoying quiet recreation, or where it may impact on people's privacy.

I replied, via Facebook, pointing out that (a) they likely legally can't do that and (b) people using them as a hobby within the confines of the law - which already ensures people’s safety and privacy - is a good thing. It encourages more people to explore the natural landscape, and the footage of the forests on YouTube etc no doubt shows them in a good light and encourages other visitors.

The privacy concerns are unfounded. I fly both SUAs on occasion, and manned light aircraft. If someone wanted to they can get a far more “invasive” photo with a long lens going almost un-noticed at 3000’ by those below them than they ever could with a drone. Let’s also not forget that photography, in a public place, is legal - doesn’t matter if the camera’s on the ground or in the air, and that’s a freedom that IMHO should be preserved, not curtailed.

Now, I expected almost no reply, and three weeks later they replied with this;

Following on from comments from yourself and other users, we have taken your views on board, and we have reviewed our policy on drones.

Their new policy?

Flying drones (unmanned aircraft) as an informal activity or hobby is allowed on Scotland’s National Forest Estate, as long as the pilot is following the Civil Aviation Authority’s guidelines and the Drone Code. All pilots, please consider how your drone use might impact on other people’s enjoyment of the forest and their privacy.

Well done Forestry Commission Scotland!

The lesson here... just because someone says you can't do something doesn't mean they have any authority but, also, sometimes it's reasonably easy to effect a change.


Now, about Forestry Comission England and the muppets at Ashdown forest, how about a revision to your own likely unlawful and unforceable policies?

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