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Unmanned Aircraft (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

Volume 808: debated on Monday 7 December 2020

Considered in Grand Committee

Moved by

My Lords, these draft regulations will be made under the powers conferred by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. The regulations amend EU Delegated Regulation 2019/945, which sets out new product standards for unmanned aircraft, and EU Implementing Regulation 2019/947, which sets out new requirements for the operation of unmanned aircraft. The regulations also make minor changes to the Air Navigation Order 2016 by removing references to the European Aviation Safety Agency—EASA—to ensure that flight restriction zones around protected aerodromes continue to function, and to Regulation 10 of the Operation of Air Services (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 to ensure that the savings provision applies from 31 December 2020.

Sitting suspended for a Division in the House.

My Lords, I will continue. I was just about to talk about the background to the EU regulation, and I will focus on the unmanned aircraft element of these regulations.

EU Regulation 2019/945 requires unmanned aircraft and associated accessories to be designed and manufactured in accordance with certain standards. It creates classes of unmanned aircraft and defines the characteristics of those classes. It imposes certain obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors, such as ensuring that an unmanned aircraft is accompanied by the manufacturer’s instructions. It also defines those unmanned aircraft whose design, production and maintenance shall be subject to certification. This regulation entered into force and became applicable on 1 July 2019. However, transitional provisions mean that while most existing unmanned aircraft can continue to be sold for now, products placed on the market after 1 January 2023 must comply with the requirements of the delegated regulation.

EU Regulation 2019/947 requires unmanned aircraft to be operated in accordance with certain rules and procedures. It creates operational categories that unmanned aircraft can be flown in, proportionate to the level of risk posed by an operation. The open category, for the lowest-risk operations, requires operators and remote pilots to abide by certain requirements. If those requirements cannot be met, an authorisation must be obtained to fly in the specific category. The highest-risk operations, including the use of unmanned aircraft designed for carrying dangerous goods or transporting people, must occur in the certified category. This requires the certification of the unmanned aircraft and the operator, and, where applicable, the licensing of the remote pilot. This regulation also imposes requirements on operators and remote pilots to ensure that operations are carried out safely and securely. For example, remote pilots must meet any applicable competency requirements for the flights they undertake. The regulation entered into force on 1 July 2019, but it is not applicable until 31 December this year. Therefore, it will still be retained in UK law.

As civil aviation is a reserved policy area, both regulations apply to the whole of the United Kingdom. The withdrawal Act will retain both the delegated and implementing regulations in UK law after the end of the transition period. This draft instrument makes the changes necessary so that the regulations continue to function correctly. This is essential to ensuring the continuation of an effective regulatory regime for unmanned aircraft.

This instrument is subject to the affirmative procedure because it creates or amends a power to legislate. For example, it provides the Secretary of State with the power to make regulations designating geographical zones for safety, security, privacy or environmental reasons.

The most significant amendment being made to the delegated regulation is providing a new power for the Secretary of State to designate standards after the end of the transition period. Until that power is exercised, unmanned aircraft and associated accessories that conform to EU harmonised standards will continue to be considered compliant with EU requirements, and those requirements will be recognised in the UK. It is not possible for these harmonised standards to be recognised in UK law as yet as they are still under development.

Another significant amendment is replacing the term “notified body” with “approved body”, thereby enabling the Secretary of State to approve bodies to carry out conformity assessments without notifying the European Commission. Other changes being made to the regulation are mostly minor and technical in nature; for example, replacing the phrase

“a language which can be easily understood”

with “English”.

The amendments being made to the implementing regulation are minor but equally important. As well as providing the Secretary of State with the regulation-making power to designate geographical zones, this instrument amends various references to EU institutions and appoints the Civil Aviation Authority, the CAA, as the competent authority for the purposes of the implementing regulation.

This instrument demonstrates that the Government are committed to ensuring a fully functioning regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft after the transition period. While we are focused on securing the best arrangements for our future relationship with the EU, including in the aviation sector, this instrument will ensure that legitimate, safe unmanned aircraft operations can continue while ensuring effective oversight if we get to the end of the transition period without a deal. I commend the regulations to the Committee.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for her helpful introduction to our debate on unmanned aircraft—sometimes, of course, described as drones. They are very different from the drones of the Drones Club of PG Wodehouse, Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, which we know so well, although the way we keep hearing some Ministers—with the notable exception of course of the noble Baroness—going on about “taking back control”, I see some connection with drones. If taking back control means the House of Lords and the Commons dealing with hundreds and hundreds of these statutory instruments, there is surely some connection. With the outcome of the discussions on our exit from the European Union still poised between no deal and a very poor deal, it does not bode well either way for the future.

How does all this affect unmanned aircraft? First, as the Minister rightly said, the EU regulations deal with the product standard for unmanned aircraft—that is the present. Do Her Majesty’s Government have any plans to change these and, if they do, why? How would any change affect the export or the import of drones?

Secondly, we are going to take control of rules for the operation of third-country unmanned aircraft operators. Could the Minister tell us how far beyond our shores this will apply, particularly in relation to the channel? We have a lot of disputation about fish in different parts of the waters around us. We do not want that to apply also to unmanned aircraft.

Could the Minister also tell us whether there are any plans to alter the requirements on maximum take-off mass, speed, height, serial number, or the characteristic dimensions of three metres or more, and on whether the drones are designed for transporting people or dangerous goods? Also, do the Government plan to make any changes on the age limit for operating unmanned aircraft if we take back control on it? If so, in what direction and why? Equally, does she envisage any changes on licensing operators when we take back control? Are any changes planned on arrangements for insurance, or for the examination requirements for obtaining a licence? The Explanatory Memorandum tells us that there are “no immediate plans” for the Secretary of State to designate new standards, but it would be helpful to know whether there are plans beyond the immediate future, or we must wonder why it is so vital to take back control in this area.

As the Minister said, the territorial extent of the regulations is the United Kingdom, I am glad to say, but paragraph 6.2 of the Explanatory Memorandum says that the Act also contains powers for the devolved Administrations to make secondary legislation. As she will know, there has been a lot of controversy over the allocation of the powers being returned from the European Union, as I know only too well as a member of the Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee, so it would be helpful if she could clarify the respective responsibilities. She said in her introduction that civil aviation is a reserved function, as we know, so why are the devolved authorities mentioned? I advised her of this query in advance, when she very kindly asked us the points that we might raise. I hope that she will be able to deal with it in her reply.

I also take this opportunity to ask the Minister—I warned her about this as well—what lessons have been learned from the incident in December 2018, when drones closed the whole of Gatwick Airport. Could she tell us what action the Government have taken, or propose to take, as a result of their investigations?

These unmanned aircraft can be useful in many ways, such as for delivering medicines urgently, for traffic surveillance or in other areas, but they can also be deployed by those wishing to cause harm. Can the Minister assure us that there is close co-operation with the police and intelligence services to prevent any such use, particularly by terrorists?

Finally, I sympathise with the Minister for having to deal with this and many other statutory instruments. Nevertheless, notwithstanding all this, I look forward to many more when we return to membership of the European Union, as we undoubtedly will one day, because it is the most successful multinational co-operative body in the world today. With that, I am sure other noble Lords will be glad to know that I am well within my time.

My Lords, it is a great pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, who, as always, displayed great insight and perception in his analysis of the current position. I found myself in agreement with many of his points.

I thank my noble friend the Minister for setting out clearly the effect of these important regulations. I appreciate that the intention is, broadly speaking, to carry on the existing law from the European Union and European Union Aviation Safety Agency, an approach with which I certainly agree. Too often we seem to be taking back control just for the sake of it, so it is good to see, in these regulations at least, inherent in our approach a degree of honesty, and that we are having consistency from 1 January 2021. I am also pleased to see a transition period provided for in the regulations—another transition period—until 1 January 2023, permitting unmarked, unmanned aircraft, legacy drones, to continue to be placed on the market in the United Kingdom. I am sure that that is a common-sense measure.

I have several questions for the Minister, some of which will echo what the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, has already touched on. Are there any plans for divergence from the existing EU position? There are none in the immediate future, as we know, but is there any plan in the medium to long term and, if so, from what date and what form will that divergence take? I think we need to know that. Further, I ask for reassurance on whether there is a close working relationship with the EU so we are kept au fait with any future plans that we may wish to incorporate into United Kingdom standards from the EU—or, at least, be aware of what EU developments are in this area.

I appreciate that these regulations deal with reserved matters, as has been stated. However, clearly, as so often, whether matters are reserved or devolved, there is an interface with the devolved Administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I welcome the fact that that has been reflected in what the Minister said and, indeed, in the regulations themselves. I seek reassurance from the Minister that we are ensuring close liaison with the devolved authorities where appropriate.

One such area would be that there is a desirable nexus in the area of employment. In that regard, I ask my noble friend—and I have given her advance notice of this—about job prospects at the West Wales Airport in Aberporth, Ceredigion; and in Caernarfon, Gwynedd. I have no doubt that my good friend the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, will touch on that as well. In both areas, drones may well be used; I hope they are. There is clearly a key role for drones in maritime search and rescue, which would be reflected in both those areas. But also, as the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, touched on, they can be used in counterpollution work, defence use and traffic surveillance, as well as having commercial possibilities, for videos of events such as weddings and other gatherings. It would be good to see the United Kingdom in the forefront of this—and, of course, I am particularly keen that Wales should be in general terms, and in both those sites. I hope that the Minister can comment on the feasibility of job prospects and enterprise in the United Kingdom generally, and certainly in relation to Thales and Bristow in the two sites to which I have referred. It would be good to see the UK lead the way in the unmanned sector of aerospace.

I certainly support these regulations, but overall I would like the Minister to give us an undertaking that, at the heart of government policy, there is a drive to ensure that the United Kingdom leads on the unmanned sector of aerospace, providing public facilities on search and rescue, as I have said, as well as in surveying for pollution and traffic surveillance, in defence interests and commercially, and that we seek to protect and enhance high-value jobs in Wales and throughout the United Kingdom in a safe and secure way.

My Lords, I too welcome the opportunity to ask a few questions. Paragraph 4 of the Explanatory Memorandum is on the extent and territorial application, which is obviously the UK. However, having sat through many sittings on the internal market Bill recently, I know that there is a sensitivity between the devolved nations and the centre. In what way will we ensure that there is clear linkage and working together on this important and developing issue? My noble friend Lord Bourne made the same point.

I understand why we are taking the approach of designated standards. My only question is: will the UK be informed of cases where there were difficulties in registering a new drone or drone variant? If we are not aware of where there are difficulties, somebody might try to register here at some point.

Paragraph 7.4 of the Explanatory Memorandum discusses the design and manufacture of unmanned aircraft. Are these requirements, and in particular the oversight mechanisms, now ready or are we still working on those for the near future?

On the implementing regulations, paragraph 7.11 refers to the current categories of “open”, “specific” and “certified”. Do we intend to change those at all, or do we think that they will remain for the foreseeable future? I hope that there is no suggestion in paragraph 7.12 that we will drop the minimum age of 16 for the control of remote pilots and that there would therefore be no exemptions at all. I hope that the Minister can confirm that that is the position.

Paragraph 7.13 says that:

“Rules for conducting an operational authorisation are also set out in Article 11”.

I admit that I have not read Article 11, and I apologise for that, but perhaps the Minister could mention whether there will be any significant changes there. On paragraph 7.15, as a matter of interest, are the clubs that allow any form of drone activity all registered with the department or some other body?

On paragraph 7.16, I put on my hat as a former Deputy Speaker in the other place. This is such a young and dangerous market, in terms of potential danger to life, that the negative procedure is not appropriate. Her Majesty’s Government need to think long and hard about using the negative procedure, as referred to paragraph 7.16(a) and (b), because those instruments will go through on the nod. Unless people have a particular knowledge of the market they will be unlikely to raise anything on them. I would have thought that it would be much better to use the affirmative procedure for a period of time in that situation, particularly as we are taking this over from Europe. It would be a great deal safer for everybody.

I initially thought when I looked at paragraph 7.8 that we should carry out a review after three or five years, but then we have the September 2021 situation. What is the Minister’s current thinking? Is it to carry out a review in September 2021, or will we do a complete review in 2023?

Lastly, I have four general questions. In the world we live in, we know that people do copycat actions. We know that what happened at one of our airports one Christmas was awful. Can we be reassured that actions have been taken to anticipate a possible copycat somewhere in the UK along the lines of what happened at Gatwick? That is a highly forecastable risk.

I apologise for not forewarning my noble friend on this, but I read it myself only in my catch-up reading. I draw her attention to an article in the Financial Times on 5 December, which says:

“Russia’s most notorious cyber security company, Kaspersky, is trying to diversify into anti-drone technology”.

I do not expect an answer from her this afternoon, but the principle behind these new systems is to help airports and private landowners to jam drone signals. Does that come under her area of responsibility? If it does, is this not an area that we should be cognisant of?

The noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, raised the question of exports and imports. That was a fair question, and one I was concerned about as well.

Finally, it is pretty clear to me that Amazon and maybe others are looking to produce delivery drones. That market will not stay static for two or three years. I just hope that Her Majesty’s Government are keeping a close watch on that and that they will, if necessary, produce our own requirements and not wait on the EU to produce its own.

My Lords, the main thrust of these regulations is to make changes to existing EU legislation on unmanned aircraft. They result from leaving the EU and, where references to bodies, organisations and powers have an EU context, they are to be replaced by a UK context.

In April, EU Regulation 2020/1058 made amendments to regulations 2019/947 and 2019/945, and it was passed by Parliament. Regulation 1058 has very detailed information within it on all sorts of measures, including conformity, badging and everything else. I am not certain whether those amendments have been carried forward into the regulations that we are debating. I would be grateful if the Minister could tell me whether the SI before us, which refers to the two earlier EU regulations, has included Regulation 2020/1058. In a mass of great detail, that regulation has put in place lots of information which goes behind those earlier regulations. Can the Minister confirm that?

Some aspects of the 2020 regulations do not now come into force until July 2021. We know that some do not come into play here fully until 2023. We have a start date of the last day of this year when the existing EU regulations come into force. We are being taken through those today, so I would like some clarity from the Minister on the precise timetable that is emerging from here as to when events happen as a result of these regulations and existing regulations. That information will very much be required by those who are manufacturers, sellers, importers or operators of drones from 1 January. That is just three weeks away and they need to know when to prepare and what to prepare for.

For those who need to register, the registration date is 31 December. Is that a start date by which registration becomes mandatory or is there a grace period? Over what period do we expect all registrations to take place? That goes back to the earlier question on a timetable. Are we fully prepared for that registration? Do we have staff trained in the considerable detail underpinning these regulations, including Regulation 2020/1058? For example, do they know which airspace is permissible for what categories of unmanned aircraft, what levels of registration are required, what categories drones fall into, and the distinction between uninvolved people and crowds? There is a lot there which we would expect staff to have been trained for.

Regulation 6 refers to designated standards. It provides direction and some description of what these standards are meant to achieve, and how, but at no point does it set a date when these designated standards are to be introduced. It is clearly welcome that there will be some time, otherwise people involved in manufacturing this equipment may not be given adequate notice and will not be prepared. Until that time, we are following the standards set out in EU regulations, but these technical standards are important, as they prescribe a large part of the protection that the people of this country need from failures in the products themselves, particularly as described in paragraph 2(a) and 2(b) of the new article in Regulation 6. This will have an impact on manufacturers and distributors of unmanned aircraft systems not only in construction and design terms, but in some of the safety aspects which arise.

Other noble Lords asked about insurance. I should be grateful to know whether this is required for those who operate and run these pieces of equipment.

I am also concerned about the definition of a toy. Clearly, if you can classify something as a toy, it rules out registration and the same level of regulation as for any of the other aspects. A toy is currently defined in European legislation as a device which could be attractive to a child. If we continue with that definition, it provides a great deal of freedom of use. The European Union suggests marking devices as being unsuitable and not for the use of children under 14 and thereby not a toy. Do the Government think this is sufficient? We have already seen what has happened to scooters—now a daily scene on our streets. They are definitely not toys, though many toy scooters exist.

On weddings, do we need to seek the written agreement of participants? This is part of the distinction between uninvolved people and crowds.

Finally, I turn to drone operator registration. Have the Government taken any steps to recognise the interoperability of registration between the UK and any other countries? This is a complex area in which technology has made rapid advances. In such an environment, the Government need to be fleet of foot and future-proof their legislation. For obvious reasons, these regulations do not touch on the speed of technological progress. I hope that the Government can keep ahead of the curve and make arrangements to introduce appropriate legislation at the right time.

My Lords, I will not be able to match other noble Lords who have spoken in the number of questions or points I want to raise. The answers that the Government give to the questions and points raised so far will highlight whether these regulations provide for significant changes in the months ahead or whether they keep largely to the status quo. We will all listen with interest to the Government’s response.

These regulations keep the effect of the policy framework established by the EU implementing and delegated regulations. They ensure that certain provisions relating to unmanned aircraft will be retained in UK law and will continue to apply after the end of the transition period in less than four weeks’ time. The EU implementing regulation applies from the end of this year and sets out the rules and procedures for the operation of unmanned aircraft. The delegated regulation sets out the requirements for unmanned aircraft and for third-country operators of these aircraft.

As we have already heard, the regulations enable the Secretary of State to designate standards after the end of the transition period. In the meantime, unmanned aircraft that conform to current EU harmonised standards, will be considered compliant with the EU requirements recognised by the UK. The main consequence of these regulations is that, since we will no longer be a part of the EU and of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, the European Union standard CE marking will be replaced by an official marking recognised within the UK. The same product standards as currently apply will be maintained. As a result, unmanned aircraft that lawfully bear the CE marking can continue to be put on the UK market.

As I understand it, the implementing regulation provides for a transitional period until 1 January 2023 during which unmarked—that is, CE or UK—unmanned aircraft will continue to be placed on the market. The Government intend to use the powers under the regulations to designate standards by the end of the transitional period. Like other noble Lords, I ask whether the Government have any view on whether the designated standards from the end of the transitional period will vary to any significant degree and, if so, in what way from the current standards under the implementing regulation. Have these regulations been drawn up on the assumption that a deal will need to be agreed with the EU before the end of the transitional period at the end of 2022? If so, will any changes be necessary if one is not agreed?

Finally, the new UK mark will come into force from the beginning of next year—in a few weeks’ time—but there will be an overlap period with the CE mark, which I understand will be accepted until the beginning of 2023. What is the reasoning behind both the overlap and its length?

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for their consideration of these draft amendments. I shall endeavour to get through as many questions as possible. I am grateful to all noble Lords who gave me advance warning of what they were going to raise. In some circumstances, I have been able to get an answer; in others, I am afraid the system failed me and I did not. I am also conscious that there are questions that I will not be able to answer. I shall study Hansard and write if necessary.

As a number of noble Lords have recognised, the opportunities for unmanned aircraft are enormous. The purpose of the Government’s framework for the operation, manufacture and approval of unmanned aircraft is to provide certainty such that commercial, military and all sorts of operations can take place.

The noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, said that unmanned aircraft are drones. I remind noble Lords that, of course, they are also model aircraft—we have been round that loop before—and it is only fair and right that model aircraft as well as drones are included in the regulations.

My noble friend Lord Naseby asked whether clubs were signed up with the DfT. It is the individual who registers, but the DfT works closely with all sorts of clubs in the unmanned aircraft space to ensure that our framework is working effectively.

The noble Lord, Lord German, asked whether registration arrangements were in place. One has had to register a drone for more than a year now. That system is completely in place and is run by the CAA. It includes a competency test for remote pilots. The operators of a drone must register it with the CAA. I am not aware of any interoperability outside the UK at this time.

I reassure the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, that we speak to the devolved Administrations relatively frequently—I have my next call with them on Thursday. We talk about all sorts of things, as do my officials. The devolved Administrations are aware of this legislation and have not raised any concerns. On paragraph 6.2 of the Explanatory Memorandum, referring to DAs’ powers to correct deficiencies in matters that are not reserved, we do not anticipate there being any such matters; this is just a standard line in EU withdrawal Act SIs.

The noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, had a number of questions, nearly all of which I picked up, but I am afraid that some have slipped me by. I will address one of them, because it was also mentioned by my noble friend Lord Naseby. I think that a difference of opinion on age limits will be coming down the track. I will talk about age limits, registration, licensing and insurance, which I know is of interest to many noble Lords. This instrument amends the delegated and implementing regulations to remove the deficiencies; that is absolutely clear. The powers, of course, do not allow us to amend the policy of the regulations through this instrument. Therefore we are dealing simply with the impact of EU withdrawal.

On age limits, Article 9 of the implementing regulation brings in a minimum age of 16 for remote pilots, with the option for member states to reduce that by up to four years for the “open” category, which is the lowest risk, and by up to two years for the “specific” category. This instrument provides the Secretary of State with the power to make regulations relating to Article 9 of the implementing regulation on age limits. It is the Government’s intention to lower the remote pilot minimum age by the maximum number of years and then to remove it as soon as we are able to in 2021. However, I reassure noble Lords that the minimum age of an operator of an unmanned aircraft will remain as 18 years old—we have had this discussion previously with the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill. To remind noble Lords, there is a difference between the operator of an unmanned aircraft and a remote pilot.

The implementing regulation contains provisions relating to registration and competency. As the CAA’s drone and model aircraft registration and education service—which is a rather long-winded way of describing the system you sign yourself up to—was originally created with these EU regulations in mind, they came as no surprise to anybody, so there are only some very small differences between the system we already operate and the new system. I hope that goes some way to reassuring the noble Lord, Lord German.

The implementing regulation requires operators in the “open” category to register if their unmanned aircraft is 250 grams or more, or if it has data capture capability. Remote pilots must also pass a competency test. There are a number of other requirements, but it is not worth going into great detail on the requirements of, for example, the “specified” and “certified” categories. As we noted before, the risk associated with those flights increases with each category.

On insurance, the implementing regulation does not require an operator of an unmanned aircraft to hold insurance unless required by other relevant legislation. It is the responsibility for every operator to ensure that they have appropriate insurance cover.

My noble friend Lord Naseby and the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, talked about Gatwick, which really was a watershed in our understanding of the world of unmanned aircraft and the catastrophic events that can happen. In this case, the catastrophic event was actually an economic event, when Gatwick was essentially shut down. Since then we have made huge strides in understanding how we can respond to illegal unmanned aircraft activity. We accelerated our testing activity and we launched the counter-unmanned aircraft strategy, including unmanned aircraft remote pilot competency testing and operator registration, before we even had to under the regulations. We extended aerodrome flight restriction zones and we developed legislative proposals, which noble Lords will recall. The counter-unmanned aircraft strategy is an incredibly important Home Office strategy. It safeguards the benefits of unmanned aircraft, which is our goal, but also ensures that people are safe and that anybody using unmanned aircraft maliciously or negligently can be appropriately dealt with.

There are a number of things within that strategy. We recognise that there is no one silver bullet. My noble friend Lord Naseby talked about counter-drone technology. We are, of course, in touch with many of the operators and developers of that technology; the reality is that it remains a work in progress and probably always will do. However, great strides have happened in the world of counter-drone technology, and the Government are really at the heart of that.

The noble Lord, Lord Rosser, talked about divergence and the impact of 1 January 2023. The product standards set out in the delegated regulation do not have a substantial practical effect until 1 January 2023, and non-compliant unmanned aircraft can continue to be put on the market until that date. However, this instrument provides the Secretary of State with these new powers to designate standards for unmanned aircraft after the end of the EU exit transition period. Until that power is exercised, unmanned aircraft and associated accessories that conform to the EU harmonised standards will continue to be considered compliant with EU requirements, and those requirements will be recognised by the UK. However, those EU requirements and harmonised developments are still under development, so it is not possible for me to comment on the content of future designated standards.

Very briefly, on the UKCA mark that the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, mentioned, the mark can be used from 1 January 2021 but, prior to that, it is not required to be used. From 1 January 2023 will be when the mark is required.

Very briefly also on Wales, it is playing a cracking role in developing the drone sector, including at West Wales Airport and Snowdonia aerodrome in Caernarfon. The Government are providing support to develop the drone sector through the drone pathfinder programme and the future flight challenge. The first successful projects in the future flight challenge were announced in November and include the gold dragon project at Snowdonia aerodrome, which will develop sensor technology for drones working with public services such as police and mountain rescue.

That was a brief run-through of as many questions as I possibly could. I shall follow up with a letter. I commend these regulations to the Committee.

Motion agreed.

My Lords, the Grand Committee stands adjourned until 6.15 pm. I remind Members to sanitise their desks and chairs before leaving the Room.

Sitting suspended.