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UK drone industry is facing ‘cliff edge threat’

Posted on 09 Jan 2022 and read 417 times
UK drone industry is facing ‘cliff edge threat’The future of the UK drone industry, said to be one of Britain’s prime opportunities for growth — like many other UK-based manufacturing exporters — will be severely threatened once the UK’s eligibility for the EU’s CE accreditation regime expires at the end of December this year.

Robert Garbett (pictured), a leading advisors on drone technology, as well as founder and chief executive of Drone Major Group Ltd, recently warned the UK Government of the need to speed up post-Brexit accreditation and establish a clear pathway to United Kingdom Certified Assessed (UKCA) accreditation ahead of the deadline.

Mr Garbett said that if an alternative UKCA accreditation scheme is not in place in the next 12 months, the UK’s UAS (unmanned air systems) businesses — including drone manufacturers and operators — risk being unable to trade within the global marketplace in the absence of the necessary new international regulatory accreditation.

“We must not sleepwalk into this urgent issue. It is essential that the UK takes a clear, committed and consistent approach to the development of CA accreditation, something which would have a significant impact on the aviation and drone industries, and will also impact many others. The UK currently has no system in place for the certification of aviation material and also drones; and with all CE Certification no longer valid, firms will have to return to EU certification providers to re-certify, at a great financial cost — and to the detriment of UK plc. We now face a potential cliff edge threat that requires urgent attention.

“This situation has huge implications for many vital UK industries that increasingly rely on drone technology, including energy, agriculture, construction and rail. It is essential that a clear roadmap is established for the UK’s accreditation.

“The process of implementation in itself is already highly complex and, as it stands, it will be very difficult for a certification scheme to be established with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) in time for the December 2022 deadline, unless the current pace is speeded up.”