Safety fears trigger tight air restrictions for Hogmanay

EDINBURGH will be hit by a no-fly zone on Saturday and Hogmanay - as thousands gather for the annual torchlight procession and street party.

Thursday, 28th December 2017, 12:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th December 2017, 1:54 pm
Police have said that tight air restrictions will be in place for this weekend's Hogmanay celebrations. Picture: Michael Gillen

Cops issued the advisory this afternoon, as security is beefed up in and around the city.

They said no-aircraft will be allowed to fly below 2200ft above sea level in a 2.3 mile radius around the celebrations.

It will be in force from 3pm to 11pm on Saturday and from 2pm until 3am on January 1 and cover from the junction between East Market Street and Jeffrey Street.

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A police spokesman confirmed the new exclusion zone was being put in force for what was described as “safety” reasons.

Crucially, they warn that includes the use of drones.

It takes in Figgate Park, Portobello to the East, Braid Hills to the South, Edinburgh Zoo to the West and the Forth Coastline to the North

A statement said: “Owners and operators of drones, as well as other aircraft, are strictly prohibited from entering these areas during the specified times.”

Aircraft operating from Edinburgh Airport, along with police, ambulance and coastguard flights are exempt, they say.

Drones are already banned from use in and around Holyrood Park for security reasons, while a no fly zone was also in place for the opening of the Queensferry Crossing earlier this year.

The Civil Aviation Authority also has rules in place requiring drone operators to seek permission for flights within 1500m of crowds of 1000 people or more, or individuals and property within 50m.

In September, security experts claimed in the i newspaper that it was “only a matter of time” before a terror attack using drones was launched in the UK by IS or other such group.

In 2016, the Oxford research Group also published a report: The Hostile Use of Drones by Non-State Actors Against British targets, warning targets could include power stations and notable individuals.

The Evening news revealed on Saturday how anti-terror chiefs had called on the public to be their eyes and ears over potential security threats.

It came after new security measures including roadblocks and extra patrols were put in place and the Home Office confirmed the terror threat in the UK remained “severe”.