Civil Aviation Authority led initiative will require retailers to do more to educate customers about responsible drone usage

UK retailers, including Dixons Carphone, Maplin and Menkind, have announced their commitment to educating users on the responsible use of drones.

Driven by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and its DroneSafe campaign, retailers are encouraged to abide by a specific set of guidelines when selling drones. With the number of drone purchases rising year on year, it is hoped that the initiative will encourage safer use of the technology, with consumers properly educated on when, where, and how they can use their drones safely.

Compliant retailers will be awarded with a DroneSafe approval, with consumers soon to be encouraged to look out for the symbol to ensure they are buying their drones from a trustworthy and responsible supplier.

Guidelines for retailers include:

  • Providing customers with a copy of the Dronecode in the box of any drone over 250g
  • Alternatively, a copy of the Dronecode must be presented to customers at the point of sale
  • Prominently displaying the Dronecode instore
  • Providing clear advice to customers on following the Dronecode
  • Adding links to the site to online product pages

Finally, each store will need a knowledgeable drone person on its staff – someone who is fully aware of the Dronecode, can answer customer queries and train fellow colleagues.

Retailers can apply to join the initiative by declaring to the CAA that they meet the criteria and submitting their details. The CAA supports any measure to improve drone safety but, as a regulator, cannot endorse individual retailers or products.

Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) commented: "Drones are the latest 'must-have' technology, and while the spike in purchases is good news for both the industry and retailers, we must ensure that users are properly educated on responsible flying.

"We've been working closely with several retailers for some time but this new scheme will give us the opportunity to reach even more drone users before they begin flying, instilling in them the importance of the Dronecode and ensuring that they have all the information they need in order operate them safely."

Andrew Uden, Technical Director, at Maplin commented: "We pride ourselves on not only being the UK's leading retailer of drones, but also on being the most responsible. Over the last year we've worked hard to ensure that we're retailing drones in a responsible way, educating new and existing owners on safe usage by driving awareness of the CAA's Dronecode.

"We firmly endorse this new initiative from the CAA and will continue to work in partnership with them to ensure customers across the UK have access to the best possible advice and guidance when looking to purchase drones."

Natasha Roach, Head of Imaging and Drones at Currys PC World added: "Currys PC World is proud to be one of the first retailers to be awarded the CAA DroneSafe approval.

"With our trained Drone staff and prominent Dronecode placement in every store we're looking forward to giving our customers a flying start on how to have safe fun with their drone this winter."

Lee Shawyer, Business Development Director at Gif Universe commented: "We live to excite and engage our customers as they discover the latest gadgets and gifts in our Red5 and Menkind stores but safety, quality and our commitment to ethical trading form the backbone of our product offering. As a responsible retailer of flying products, we have been involved with the CAA for some time ensuring that both our customers and staff are educated in the safe use of our product line. We welcome the pro-activity of the CAA, who not only seek to ensure the safety of the public but also improve the professionalism of the commercial activity involved in the retailing of Drones and associated products. We didn't hesitate to give the Dronesafe campaign our full support and are proud to be promoting the safe use of Drones, in accordance with the CAA Dronecode, to both the Drone users and the general public."

The initiative is the latest in the CAA's ongoing campaign to promote safe and responsible drone use, centring on the use of the Dronecode, a simple set of rules around safe and responsible use:

  • Don't fly near airports or airfields
  • Remember to stay below 400ft (120m) and at least 150ft (50m) away from buildings and people
  • Observe your drone at all times
  • Never fly near aircraft
  • Enjoy responsibly

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