Council gives green light to drones

. . . if CAA permits

. . . if CAA permits

ANY person wanting to fly a drone over Gisborne city will probably need the permission of the Civil Aviation Authority. That seems to be the outcome of a discussion at Gisborne District Council’s environmental planning and regulations committee.

A staff recommendation to allow drones to fly over reserves and roads owned by the council was carried by the committee.

But committee members said there was an apparent contradiction with the CAA rules that required a drone operator to get the permission of people before they were flown over.

Also there was the CAA rule that prohibited drones flying within four kilometres of an airport, which effectively ruled out the whole of the Gisborne urban area.

A GDC staff report said new rules that came into effect on August 1 imposed controls over drones.

The council owned 950 hectares of reserves and 7.64 hectares of carparks and roads including reserves.

Effects of drones less than costly consent system

The effects of drones flying over land had been assessed by staff as being negligible compared with the costs of establishing and administering a drone consent system.

It was therefore recommended that the council adopt a blanket approach to the flying of drones over council-owned property.

Rehette Stoltz asked if you were flying a drone over Waikirikiri Reserve and there were people there would it mean the operator had to get their approval? There would be hundreds of people there for junior rugby on a Saturday during winter.

Other committee members also said there seemed to be a contradiction between the council’s recommendation and the situation.

When CAA permission is needed

Environmental and regulatory services group manager Kevin Strongman said a drone operator would need permission to fly over an area such as a beach or rugby ground from all of the people present. As that would not be possible they would have to go to the CAA. If they were flying over private homes they would also need the permission of the CAA.

The four-kilometre buffer zone around Gisborne Airport, in which drones were banned, would effectively rule out any drone activity over the city without CAA permission.

Healthy living team leader Judith Robertson said the CAA had listed 12 points that drones had to comply with. One of these was not within four kilometres from an airport and the other was that they could not fly higher than 120 metres.

Craig Bauld said what staff were saying was they had no basic problem with drones flying over council property.

ANY person wanting to fly a drone over Gisborne city will probably need the permission of the Civil Aviation Authority. That seems to be the outcome of a discussion at Gisborne District Council’s environmental planning and regulations committee.

A staff recommendation to allow drones to fly over reserves and roads owned by the council was carried by the committee.

But committee members said there was an apparent contradiction with the CAA rules that required a drone operator to get the permission of people before they were flown over.

Also there was the CAA rule that prohibited drones flying within four kilometres of an airport, which effectively ruled out the whole of the Gisborne urban area.

A GDC staff report said new rules that came into effect on August 1 imposed controls over drones.

The council owned 950 hectares of reserves and 7.64 hectares of carparks and roads including reserves.

Effects of drones less than costly consent system

The effects of drones flying over land had been assessed by staff as being negligible compared with the costs of establishing and administering a drone consent system.

It was therefore recommended that the council adopt a blanket approach to the flying of drones over council-owned property.

Rehette Stoltz asked if you were flying a drone over Waikirikiri Reserve and there were people there would it mean the operator had to get their approval? There would be hundreds of people there for junior rugby on a Saturday during winter.

Other committee members also said there seemed to be a contradiction between the council’s recommendation and the situation.

When CAA permission is needed

Environmental and regulatory services group manager Kevin Strongman said a drone operator would need permission to fly over an area such as a beach or rugby ground from all of the people present. As that would not be possible they would have to go to the CAA. If they were flying over private homes they would also need the permission of the CAA.

The four-kilometre buffer zone around Gisborne Airport, in which drones were banned, would effectively rule out any drone activity over the city without CAA permission.

Healthy living team leader Judith Robertson said the CAA had listed 12 points that drones had to comply with. One of these was not within four kilometres from an airport and the other was that they could not fly higher than 120 metres.

Craig Bauld said what staff were saying was they had no basic problem with drones flying over council property.

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Kozzie - 3 years ago
A good win for common sense. Good to see the council not giving into the drone hysteria that's around. CAA rules quite adequately cover the safety aspect of these craft. Why other councils around the country feel the need to introduce bureaucratic consent regimes is baffling. I can only guess they need to justify their existence by creating red tape.
A point worth clarifying however: The 4km rule is not a blanket ban - drones can still be used under certain conditions and by logging a flight with the air traffic control tower. Also, under a shielded operation, anyone can fly right up to an airport boundary as long as they are separated by a suitable barrier.
Therefore the council cannot rely solely upon the 4km rule - they may consider areas where it's not appropriate to fly a drone, examples may be the CBD, cemetery, or a park where a concentration of wildlife is present.

Bruce Simpson - 3 years ago
Gisborne District Council seems to have not done its homework. CAA has made special provision for people to fly drones and other RC models within 4Km of an airfield by way of what is called a "shielded operation".
The General Manager of CAA has also requested that councils set aside areas where people can fly these craft - which would simply involve posting signs to warn the public that they can expect to find drones in these reserved locations. This would then place the emphasis on the public not to enter if they do not wish to give implied permission for the craft to be flying nearby.
I can't understand why there are still councils (and the South Waikato is another) that don't even do the most rudimentary homework to check the facts before making these decisions. If this is the calibre of local government in these districts then heaven help the residents who rely on councils to "get it right".

Steve Main - 3 years ago
I agree with Bruce, the council should have in hindsight sought clarification from either the CAA or the local Gisborne CAA/MFNZ-approved Model Aero Club.

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