In consultation with Dronewatch and the province of Flevoland, the Royal Dutch Society for Aviation (KNVvL) is going to work on a code of conduct regarding flying drones above nature reserves . This is the outcome of an interview with the Environment Service Flevoland & Gooi en Vechtstreek (OFGV), the organization that supervises nature reserves on behalf of the province of Flevoland. An interview that took place at the invitation of the OFGV, after Dronewatch had objected to the general flight ban that the organization had proclaimed.
Can you fly with or without a drone over Natura 2000 areas? It is a discussion that creates a lot of confusion in the drone sector. Strictly speaking, environmental services have no control over the use of airspace over nature reserves, but do have the mandate to maintain the disturbance of nature. In practice, however, it appears that disturbance by drones is difficult to demonstrate and is also very place, time- and context-related.
According to OGFV director Paul Schuurmans, it was certainly not the intention to completely ban the use of drones over the Flevoland rim lakes. “With the information we posted on our website, we wanted to make people aware of the possible disruptive effect of a drone, but that information led to even more confusion.”
After Dronewatch and a number of worried drone flyers asked critical questions about the drone ban, the OFGV sent an invitation for an interview to get a better view of the mutual interests. During this meeting, mutual understanding turned out to be sufficient understanding. Schuurmans: “As an environmental service, we take care of the implementation of the Nature Conservation Act, which is why we can verbally fly drone flyers, but we are not waiting for the legal tug of war that brings something like that. engaging in dialogue with parties from the drone sector, to see what the common interests are and to take that as a starting point. “
Code of Conduct instead of prohibition
All recreational or professional drone pilots have certain responsibilities, not only in the field of safety, but also in the field of privacy and nature protection.
Wiebe de Jager from Dronewatch: “The only question is whether a total ban is the right solution, I see a lot more in a code of conduct, as agreed with water sports enthusiasts in the areas concerned.”
There is also the KNVvL agrees. President Ronald Schnitker: “Of course you can try to clear the dividing lines through the courts. But you are not waiting for that as a sector. It is better to come to a normative set of agreements together. If drone pilots can find themselves in that, then you will see that there is much more support for this than for a general flight ban. “
And so there is a code of conduct
And so the KNVvL in cooperation with Dronewatch will set a code of conduct.
This document will be discussed this summer with the OFGV and with the province of Flevoland. The ultimate goal is ultimately to broaden the code of conduct beyond Flevoland alone. “It would be strange if everyone reinvents the wheel.”
De Jager: “I am pleased with this outcome. You have to end up with this in the end, you’ll get along with putting the heels in the sand. And the KNVvL is the official association of interests par excellence to give something like that. If we can indeed come to a code of conduct when it comes to drones over nature reserves, then that is unique for the Netherlands, perhaps even worldwide. “