NEW guidelines are being drawn up to stop drones being flown in Holyrood Park amid an unprecedented boom in sales of the flying devices.
Thousands of drones were sold across the UK in the run-up to Christmas and the machines became popular presents, offering people a new way to take dramatic photographs and videos.
But authorities have become nervous, not only because of the danger of drones crashing into people, buildings or traffic, but also in view of the potential terrorist threat.
Signs have already gone up in the royal parks in London, banning the use of drones there.
And although Historic Scotland, which operates Holyrood Park, denied plans to install similar signage here, it admitted to drawing up new legislation – although it was also argued that existing regulations covering royal parks already banned the use of any electronic vehicles including remote-controlled cars or model aircraft, unless they had written permission.
The agency said civil aviation guidelines also banned people from flying drones within 50 metres of buildings or other people without consent.
We do get professional requests to use drones on our sites for photography and video purposes. These are decided on a case-by-case basis.”Historic Scotland
A spokesman said: “We’re putting together our own drone guidelines for our sites.
“There has been a massive influx of drones, people buying them over the last six months.
“It’s something we accept there will be increasing incidents of and we’re trying to be on the front foot on that.”
He said the new guidelines would be issued to staff to use when dealing with the public or any requests about drones.
He said: “We do get professional requests to use drones on our sites for photography and video purposes. These are decided on a case-by-case basis.”
Notices seen in London’s royal parks read: “The flying of drones or model aircraft in the park is prohibited. By order of the Secretary of State.”
The ban is said to be a reaction to fears over the possible negative impact of drones on wildlife in the parks, as well as the safety of visitors.
Electronics retailer Maplin reported drones – priced at anything from £35 to £3350 – were one of its biggest sellers in the run-up to Christmas and one estimate had sales running at 2000 a month last year.
Earlier this month, French security services were left on high alert after a number of drones appeared in the sky over Paris around the Eiffel Tower. They were the latest in a string of around 60 sightings of drones at locations including popular landmarks and nuclear installations.
Despite the strict controls placed on them, the drones have already been used to capture stunning footage of the city, including Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street and the famnous Hogmanay celebrations.
And professional drone photographers have also used the machines to get unique perspective on the Forth Bridge.