Flying of Drones

We have been receiving a number of complaints about the flying of drones in Polperro

Due to the rules a large area of Polperro is a no fly zone.  The National Trust does not allow the use of private drones and a large coastal area of Polperro is managed by the National Trust.  Please respect the rules and peoples privacy and follow the legislation

Flying drones at our places | National Trust

Introduction to drone flying and the UK rules | Civil Aviation Authority (

Where you can fly drones | UK Civil Aviation Authority (

If you have any concerns about unmanned aircraft or drones being used, either from a safety or privacy perspective, contact your local police on 101

“The following represents the council’s understanding of the Civil Aviation Authority’s regulations in regard to the operation of drones in the UK.


All drones with a weight in excess of 250 grams and those less than 250 grams but carrying a camera require that the operator holds a flyer and/or an operator ID. The relevant ID number must be displayed on the body of the drone and the operator must be in view such  that the they can be identified. Failure to hold and display such an ID is a criminal offence.

Below are those CAA’s rules thought to be particularly relevant to drone flights above Polperro;


Flying Safety – Code Point 2 – Keep Drones in Sight

Popular  launch points for drones are from the bench overlooking the tidal pool at Chapel Point, from Peak Rock at the mouth of the harbour and from any of the harbour piers. From each point the valley and the village within it twists to the left up stream and onto rising ground. This route is a common flight path for drones. However given the terrain this can mean flying out of sight for a part of the return flight. Users have been seen using goggles, phone apps or monitors to view and control their flight. However the code requires that when using just this means of viewing the flight  an associated person is close at hand to maintain direct visual sight of the drone.

Must Fly Below 400’ Code Point 3

Drones can fly no higher than 400’ above the highest ground level.

As a result of the depth of the valley and surrounding cliffs in Polperro this would seem to allows drones to fly significantly higher that 400’ above sea level. This in turn can put drones into the potential flight path of low flying coast guard and air/sea rescue helicopters as they pass along the coastline and above the harbour entrance. This would be aparticular concern for the CAA and flyers are required to avoid routes and heights that bring them into close proximity to such aircraft.

Do not fly closer to individuals than a horizontal distance of 50 metres – Code Point 4

Within the confines of Polperro’s narrow valley people are in boats, walking coastal paths, in back gardens, on beaches, in open air festivals and in narrow streets,  both singly in groups and in crowds. It is difficult to avoid flying over people whilst keeping more than 50 metres horizontally from anyone. In particular flying over visitors congregating at concerts, festivals and beaches or around the harbour are a breach of the relevant code.

Never fly over crowds – Code Point 5

As stated above. Once again this is difficult to achieve during high season or festival days unless drones are flown just over the sea or the outer limits of the harbour. The beach, the harbour and narrow streets are crowded during the summer when both visitors and  drones are most prevalent.

Flights must be more than 150 metres horizontally from residential and recreational areas – Code Point 6

Houses, their gardens, shops, pubs and restaurants are packed tightly along the valley slopes and down to the river and harbour.

Any flight over Polperro are likely to  breach what is understood as the 150 metre rule. This applies both to people, the boundaries of their property (unless an owners permission to overfly is given) and potentially  areas such as that part of our coastline designated as of Special Scientific Interest. It should also be noted that breaches of privacy might also be actionable by property owners in the civil courts for nuisance, harassment and trespass or under the relevant Data Protection legislation.

Keep away from aircraft – Code Point 7

As explained above the seaward entrance to Polperro, which is a popular drone launch and flight area, is frequently flown over at low level by rescue and domestic helicopters and light aircraft. A  negligently flown drone is a distinct and frequent danger in this regard.

Flying restrictions and hazards – Code Point 8

Crowds and Areas of Environmental Sensitivity.

Polperro has frequent concerts and festivals where people come together throughout the village. In addition stretches of coastline that exist between the village and sea are designated SSSI’s. They support a wide range of wildlife and in particular protected gulls and hawks. All species are clearly affected by the proximity and noise of drones.

Privacy – Code Point 20

Due to the dense residential nature of Polperro and the common use of camera equipped drones flights can potentially breach an individuals right to privacy. This can be a significant nuisance for residents and visitors who would otherwise expect to enjoy the privacy of their homes and gardens. Unless kept strictly over the water to the  seaward side of the harbour, drones flown over Polperro will may affect our right to privacy and thereby create a nuisance and breach of rights under the Data Protection legislation.

Given the physical and social characteristics of Polperro it can make it difficult to fly drones over the village without breaching many of the CAA‘s rules. Clearly trying to monitor and police every breach would be difficult suggesting that if it were possible a complete ban might be considered. In any event signage at key points in the village indicating the restrictions imposed by the CAA might both discourage and reduce drone nuisance and help make residents and visitors aware of what is and isn’t acceptable and where referral to the police involvement might be appropriate.”