A drone no-fly zone around Aberdeen International Airport will be expanded under new legislation introduced next month.
The measures will extend the exclusion zone for the gadgets from one kilometre to 5km and will see parts of Bucksburn, Bridge of Don and Kingswells fall under the ban.
The new legislation, to be introduced on March 13, comes off the back of growing concern about their misuse, with Gatwick shut down for three days in December because of drone sightings.
The restriction has been backed by the airport, which said it had been put in place to “keep everyone safe”. A spokesman said: “We welcome the new legislation to extend the no-fly zone around airports.
“We would remind people the use of drones within close proximity to an airport is both extremely dangerous and a criminal offence.
“It’s important that anyone who operates a drone is aware of their responsibilities and of the new rules which have been put in place to keep everyone safe.”
Alan Stewart, commercial drone operator and instructor at Cabro Aviation, said he “fully supports” changes to the legislation.
He added: “Flying a drone carries a lot of responsibility.
“As we have seen at several airports, irresponsible users can have a huge impact on thousands of air passengers and crews.
“The Civil Aviation Authority has been implementing changes to increase safety while ensuring the ability to fly drones commercially and for recreation can continue.
“Regulation on using drones is continually evolving, but with thousands of users, not everybody takes the time and effort to understand the law.
“I fully support any changes in the law that allows safer flying to take place.
“Such changes to the law are the results of consultations and feedback from a number of organisations.
“Drone registration (as is the case in Ireland) will be rolled out in the UK soon along with safety training requirements.
“This is far better than a total ban, as is the case in some countries.”
It is illegal to fly any drone at any time within the airport’s flight restriction zone unless you have permission from air traffic control at the airport or, if air traffic control is not operational, from the airport itself.
If a drone endangers the safety of an aircraft, it is a criminal offence, and the individual operating the drone could go to prison for five years.
The Government has also partnered up with retailer Jessops in a bid to reduce drone misuse.
The photography firm has pledged to ensure it tells customers about the latest rules around flying the devices.
There were 125 near misses between drones and aircraft reported in 2018.
UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the new laws would help police crack down on disruptions like the “recent misery” seen at Gatwick.
Drone sightings brought 36 hours of chaos to the airport, with the runway closed and 1,000 flights affected, leaving millions of passengers stranded.
A strike by a drone could break an aircraft’s windscreen or cause serious damage to the engine, the UK Government has warned.
There have not yet been any collisions between drones and aircraft in the UK, but at least seven incidents of this type have been logged worldwide.