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Law - am I breaking bylaws?

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Erfolg04/10/2015 16:56:05
11659 forum posts
1297 photos

The action of the quoted farmer illustrates one of the principal differences between England and much of Europe. It has been very common in England for exclusive rights of access, these rights have been guarded jealously.

The recent legislation although modest compared to the rights to access in much of Northern Europe (Norway/Sweden/Austria/France/Scotland etc.) passed by the last Labour Government should be applauded. although apparently not as generous as else where so it would seem.

England being the most densely populated country in Europe and supposably most of the world, can only see further attempts to limit access, as we all compete for our little bit of England, to fly our models, fish, shooting rights and so forth.

On the one hand I would like more freedom to fly my models, on the other hand I want to restrict others from preventing me doing so safely, by invading my flying field.

I do remember whilst at college(in the distant 20th century) that one of my fellow students being fined for running into a cow roaming the main "A" road, having escaped from a field. A change in law since then would see the farmer in trouble and liable for the damage to cars etc. I guess the noted farmer still believes that he can do what ever he likes with impunity on his land. Not helped it would seem by the local farm friendly police it would seem, if this occurred recently.

Dave Hopkin04/10/2015 17:07:51
3672 forum posts
294 photos

I am not sure about "farmer friendly police" if you made a report stating that "gunshots had been fired" you will trigger a reaction that will be anything but friendly - the mention of firearms causes plod to have a major sense of humour failure!

Erfolg04/10/2015 17:36:06
11659 forum posts
1297 photos

At both of the clubs and fields I fly from, the noise of shot guns is very common.

I will say that since the NT took over the land, I am not as aware of people crawling along hedge rows with shot guns. These days it is more usual to come across air cannons than shooters. It is also true that the only Hunt I have seen in recent years was a NT authorised Drag Hunt. There is though a clay shoot within hearing range of one of our locations.

At club number 2, I have heard what I take to be a Clay Shoot, a few times.

Naturally the Police are not interested in these things, to the best of my knowledge.

Personally, I would be alarmed at a farmer shooting at model aircraft, i would also expect the police to take more than a passing interest.

Yet we are possibly more aware that the police have in the past and continue to look the other way when certain issues arise, for a variety of reasons from political pressures, media coverage, or social reasons (pressure groups). In reality if all laws presently on the statute book were pursued, the courts would be full and possibly a mass response from the majority population.

Peter Christy04/10/2015 18:04:37
1728 forum posts
Posted by Erfolg on 04/10/2015 17:36:06:In reality if all laws presently on the statute book were pursued, the courts would be full and possibly a mass response from the majority population.

How true! And how many of the laws actually passed by our politicians are actually enforceable? Seems to me a lot of the stuff on our statute books was enacted more from a need to be seen to be doing something, rather than in any realistic hope that it might be enforced........



Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator04/10/2015 18:35:20
15748 forum posts
1460 photos
Posted by Martin Harris on 04/10/2015 01:57:58:

Trouble is, as I understand it, there is no strict definition of what is a reasonable height specific to trespass.

It was to address exactly that question that I specifically cited an altitude of 50m Martin. This is inspired by the requirement to remain 50m from any person or structure not under your control regulation. In my view I believe that is full defenable. Strictly speaking, as I said, it only applies to our aircraft when fitted with a data gathering device - eg a camera. But I believe it could reasonably be used to define that height at which an overflying model is not intrusive or causing a nuisance. The law isn't designed for that purpose, but the "reasonable person" aspect comes into play in the absence of a firm figure. I would say that if you defended yourself by saying you were using the SUAS regulations as a guideline of what was reasonable height to overfly someones private property you'd have a pretty good case.


Martin Harris05/10/2015 00:09:25
9168 forum posts
229 photos

It's still undefined though. The 50m requirement is measurable but applies to the requirements for exemption from the ANO but trespass is a civil matter and has requirements over and above safety which I believe is the intention of the ANO.

I agree that it would be a basis for attempting to defend a case brought against a model pilot but legal experts quote such examples as overhanging cranes being a basis for damages to be awarded for trespass.

For example:

airspace - invasion of the airspace above the land may also constitute a trespass, but is limited to the height at which the invasion would interfere with the full use of the land. For example, overhanging eaves will be a trespass. A trespass will also be committed if a structure that is connected to an owner‘s adjoining land overhangs their neighbour’s land, even if it is at a height that would not necessarily affect the neighbour‘s use of the land. Conversely, overhanging tree branches will only be classed as a nuisance (where damage has to be proved).


Laiqat v Majid
[2005] EWHC 1305

The trial judge held that an overhanging extractor fan was not causing a trespass because it did not cause a substantial interference with the claimants land. On appeal this was held to be wrong.

  • ".. if a defendant interferes with a claimants airspace, this amounts to trespass except that this conduct would not constitute trespass if the interference were at such great height - such as by high flying aircraft - that it does not interfere with the claimants airspace. As Scott J explained if somebody erects on his own land a structure, part of which invades the air space above the land of another, the invasion is trespass." (para 34).

Edited By Martin Harris on 05/10/2015 00:11:40

john featherstone 105/10/2015 10:56:02
44 forum posts


kc05/10/2015 11:26:33
6300 forum posts
170 photos

Regarding the helicopter shot down. Wouldn't we all want the BMFA to take up the heli owners claim for damages against the shooter? It would be in all our interests to have a clear ruling in our favour as many ( most?) clubs fly out over other peoples land at some time.

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