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Councils to use drones to spy on homes to makes sure they haven’t breached their planning permission


Councils to use drones to spy on residents’ homes to makes sure they haven’t breached planning permission with their building projects

  • North Yorkshire County Council will fly drones to look for planning ‘breaches’ 
  • The council recently spent almost £2,000 on an aircraft which will be licenced 
  • It is believed dozens of councils will follow suit and for a drone operating licence
  • Drones are already used across the country to investigate fly-tipping incidents 

Drones will be used by councils to spy on home extensions if they suspect they are larger than planned.

North Yorkshire County Council will use its newly-bought drone to look for ‘breaches of planning controls’, it was reported.

Dozens of district and county councils are set to follow suit, applying to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for a drone licence.

More than 20 councils have been granted approval by the CAA to use drones for commercial purposes. A stock picture of a drone is pictured above for illustrative purposes [File photo]

More than 20 councils have been granted approval by the CAA to use drones for commercial purposes. A stock picture of a drone is pictured above for illustrative purposes [File photo]

The snooping has caused uproar from civil liberties campaigners, who argue it is an ‘expansion of state surveillance’, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Campaign group Big Brother Watch is urging for guidelines to be drawn up.

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said: ‘There’s a real risk that drones could be used by councils to expand the surveillance state.

‘There should be clear safeguards in place to make sure authorities make the best of new technologies without having free licence to snoop on the public in the absence of good reason.’

Drones are already used across the country to investigate fly-tipping. North Yorkshire recently spent almost £2,000 on an aircraft, which is to be licensed by the CAA.

The council told the newspaper the device will perform a variety of functions, including checking the work of cowboy builders, searching for livestock carcasses and ‘inspecting sites in relation to breaches of planning controls’. 

More than 20 councils have been granted approval by the CAA to use drones for commercial purposes.

Matt O’Neill, assistant director of growth, planning and trading standards at North Yorkshire County Council, said: ‘Like many councils, we use advances in technology to help us to work smarter. It’s a useful addition to the tools available to the county council, enabling us to make more efficient use of our limited resources and to enhance health and safety.’

It came as hundreds of passengers were diverted from Gatwick to Stansted after another drone scare yesterday. A pilot told air traffic control he had seen a ‘flying object’ just over three miles from the airport at 4.05pm.

North Yorkshire County Council will use its newly-bought drone to look for ‘breaches of planning controls’, it was reported. Dozens of district and county councils are set to follow suit, applying to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for a drone licence [File photo]

North Yorkshire County Council will use its newly-bought drone to look for ‘breaches of planning controls’, it was reported. Dozens of district and county councils are set to follow suit, applying to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for a drone licence [File photo]

It is understood the airport immediately investigated, but its new military grade anti-drone radar systems did not detect anything.

The object was seen outside the 5km (3.1mile) no-fly zone introduced around airports in the wake of the drone chaos at Gatwick before Christmas. Despite this, pilots on three flights did not take any chances and diverted to Stansted in Essex, 70 miles away.

The pilot of an easyJet flight from Amsterdam told those on board that the plane had been in ‘close proximity’ to a drone, The Sun reported.

One flight from Barcelona and another from Heraklion in Greece were also affected.

All three planes landed at Gatwick more than 90 minutes after their scheduled arrival time.

Last night the airport stressed that its runway had not been closed at any point.

Gatwick shut for 33 hours in the week before Christmas, disrupting 140,000 journeys. The culprit has never been caught and police have suggested it was an inside job.

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