The use of drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) at White Horse Hill

A skylark in heather

The use of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) is not permitted on or over National Trust land as part of our byelaws, without the necessary required qualifications and a licence granted by us. We are increasingly experiencing issues with drones at White Horse Hill and we expect this to continue as the technology becomes more available. There's more information below about why we don't allow drones to be flown at National Trust sites.

Why we don't allow drones to fly at White Horse Hill

  • The use of drones is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and is a developing area which is coming under greater scrutiny. Few non-commercial users have the correct training or permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to operate drones, which creates a serious risk to our staff, volunteers, property and wildlife.

  • We have therefore adopted a strict blanket policy banning the use of drones at our sites.

  • Should a drone cause damage or harm, pilots generally do not have the correct insurance to compensate those affected.

  • Drones should not be flown over people and as much of our land is open access we cannot guarantee an area is ever completely empty.

  • Many drones have cameras attached. These could infringe data protection laws (filming people without permission) and potentially contravene National Trust rules on commercial photography and filming.

  • White Horse Hill is an important area for wildlife and is covered by national conservation designations. Wildlife and agricultural animals can be affected by the presence of drones. Many birds see drones as a threat and can abandon their nests.

  • We therefore do not allow drone flying from or over National Trust land except by contractors commissioned by the Trust for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct insurances and are operating under controlled conditions.

  • In addition to this, anyone wishing to carry out commercial activity on National Trust land, such as photography needs to contact us first to obtain permssion. Please email us at whitehorsehill.nationaltrust.org.uk  or phone 01793 762209 during office hours.