Drone Policy for Dunwich Heath

The use of drones is not permitted on or over Dunwich Heath and Beach. This is in line with the National Trust national policy.

The unauthorised flying of drones over Dunwich Heath and Beach has recently become a problem and there are many reasons why the National Trust does not allow drones to fly over their places.

  • The use of drones is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority and it is a developing area which is coming under greater scrutiny. Few non-commercial users have the correct training or permission to operate drones, which creates a serious risk to our staff, volunteers, visitors, property and wildlife. We have therefore adopted a strict blanket policy banning the use of drones at all our sites.
  • The use of aerial vehicles is also prohibited by the Trust “byelaws”. The byelaws reflect the charitable core purposes of the Trust to enable us to preserve special places for the nation.
  • Should a drone cause damage or harm, pilots generally do not have the correct insurances to compensate the Trust for remedial actions.
  • Drones should not be flown over people; even though Dunwich Heath and Beach has specific opening times we cannot guarantee that any area is completely empty.
  • Drones should not be flown near property; the special nature of our properties makes the risk of damage more severe.
  • Some sites may have wildlife or agricultural animals which could be effected by the presence of drones. Many birds use Dunwich Heath and Beach in all seasons and are sensitive to disturbance.
  • Many drones have cameras attached and these could infringe data protection laws (filming people without permission) and potentially could contravene National Trust rules on photography and filming.
  • The presence of drones can be detrimental to the enjoyment of our sites by other visitors.

We therefore do not allow drone flying from or over National Trust land. The only exception being contractors or staff who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have specific insurances and have been commissioned or authorised by the Trust for a specific purpose – and in these cases the activity is strictly controlled.

The regulatory environment regarding drones is rapidly developing. We will continue to monitor this development and keep our position under constant review.
For more detail see Flying drones at our places. Anyone seeking further information regarding Dunwich Heath and Beach should contact the Lead Ranger on 01728 648501 or email dunwichheath@nationaltrust.org.uk