Planning Applications with Drones

by | May 29, 2020

Use of drones with Planning Applications

Drone technology can replace some of the need for planners, developers and surveyors to visit sites during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Drone footage is already being used for some planning applications. Charlotte Orrell is a senior planner with Iceni Projects in London. She reports their use to ‘transport’ the professional team, council officers and members, and the public to sites at different stages in the planning process – whether for a virtual site visit or to inform the planning decision generally.

Drones to provide up to date, high resolution images of complex sites and this data can be stitched together with 360 degree camera images to provide a tailored presentation.

“There isn’t a ‘one-size fits all’ approach.” said Orrell. “We have to work with the wider team and the council to agree on the scope of the footage, which always depends on the nuances of each site and proposal. The footage allows the user to walk, or even fly, around the site at their leisure and zoom in on areas of interest. The information is accessible via a simple link which works on most computers and mobile phones.”

Orrell said that this approach has long term benefits beyond keeping the planning system moving when coronavirus makes site access difficult.

“The footage can be stored and shared many times during the planning process without anyone needing to be physically present on site, and it makes a valuable contribution to the digital pre-construction data cache,” she said. “This has to be good news for the system generally in terms of cost and time savings.”

There are some practical considerations to bear in mind if using drone footage.

Footage may be disclosed to the public if submitted as part a planning application. A recent case in the First Tier Tribunal held that visual and aural footage of the state of a landscape and natural site was environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. So take as much care as possible to avoid taking images of people. If people are caught on camera consider pixelating the images, including clothing, to ensure anonymity.

If the drone footage captures personal data, which means information that would allow people to be identified, and the footage then becomes part of the application documentation, the council could become the data controller and will need to take potential GDPR issues into account.

Local authorities considering the use of drone footage in place of a site visit should agree some principles about how the data is stored and shared, and why it is being used taking GDPR into account. They may want to carry out a Data Protection Impact Assessment if they want to make this part of their regular planning practice.

Any decision to allow virtual site visits and the reasons for that decision should be recorded and placed on the planning register.

Both the Civil Aviation Agency (CAA) and the Information Commission office (ICO) have issued useful guidance on this area.

Article Credit: Pinsent Masons

Wireless In-Flight Drone Recharging Tech For Prime Air

Amazon Prime Air is a drone delivery service that Amazon has been touting for almost four years now. Amazon’s drone delivery service delivered its first package on December 7, 2016. Almost four years later, it’s still a “future delivery system.” What’s missing? Probably something like wireless in-flight drone recharging from the tiny Portland-based Global Energy […]

World’s biggest drone — a 28-ton autonomous behemoth

Alabama rocket startup Aevum just unveiled the world’s biggest drone — a 28-ton autonomous behemoth that may soon rocket US military satellites into orbit Jay Skylus, the CEO of autonomous launch startup Aevum, stands in front of a Ravn X rocket-launching drone. Aevum Aevum, a quiet, scrappy, and ambitious rocket-launch startup, unveiled the biggest drone […]

3d printed rocket Relativity

3D printed rockets – the future of space exploration

Full-duration test of Aeon 1 rocket engine. Relativity Space said Monday that the company has successfully completed a full-duration test-firing of its Aeon 1 rocket engine, running it at full power for 187 seconds. The test at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi took place with all of the engine’s key components—including turbopumps, injector, and […]

Drone Privacy Laws Around the World

As the use of drones expands around the world — according to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are currently 1.7 million drones registered in the United States alone — lawmakers have been faced with new and complex regulatory challenges to protect the privacy of ordinary citizens. The increased prevalence of drones has raised the prospect […]

Switching to Skydio and Increase Per-Pilot Revenue 37%

This blog is a teaser and summary of a longer-form written case study, available here at One of the best parts of my job is talking to customers and listening to their stories about the way that Skydio 2 is changing the way they fly and in some cases, the way they fundamentally do […]

Fotokite – Tethered 24hr First Responder Drone

Fotokite already offers a clever response to two challenges for deploying drones: limited battery life and the need for a certified pilot. And now it’s tackling a third challenge with its new product: How to deploy a drone as quickly as possible in a first responder situation. Drones can be a tremendous asset to first […]

Skydio Autonomy™. A new age of drone intelligence

In last week’s blog, I shared with you some of the ways Skydio X2 was built to meet the needs of some of the drone industry’s most forward-thinking fleets. This week, I’d like to share some ideas about autonomy — what true autonomy is and why it matters, and how it will impact drone operations […]

DRONAMICS Announces World’s First Cargo Droneport Network

DRONAMICS, the world’s leading middle-mile cargo drone developer and operator, today unveiled the first 5 airports in its European network of cargo droneports. The DRONAMICS European Droneport Network is the world’s first cargo droneport network and includes private airports and airport groups operating more than 35 airports in 11 European countries, connecting 300 million […]

Non-Stop Flight from California to Sicily Completes NATO UAV Squadron

An RQ-4D Phoenix UAV from Northrop Grumman Corporation completed a 20-hour non-stop trans-Atlantic flight from California to Sicily, where it joined the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) squadron on Nov. 12 at Sigonella Air Base. The air vehicle is the last of five NATO RQ-4D aircraft, completing deliveries to the Main Operating Base (MOB) of […]

Anti-Jam GPS for Army’s Gray Eagle UAV Awarded to Cobham

For its flagship Gray Eagle UAV, the U.S. Army with lead contractor General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has selected an anti-jam GPS system from Cobham Aerospace Connectivity. The MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) platform is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed as an upgrade to the MQ-1 […]

Request a NO OBLIGATION quote

The cost of a survey or inspection is simple to calculate, but is dependant on the mission and its location. Please provide details in order to complete an accurate quotation.  Get in touch we’ll be happy to provide a no obligation quotation

“Opportunities for the commercial application of drones is set to continue to grow…”

Digital Marketing Solutions

Have you looked at creating a promo for your business and found it too costly and complicated?

It’s time to impress your client base with affordable marketing solutions from Helix UAV. We can create a fully edited promotional film or you can have the raw footage (it’s yours).

To take your businesses potential to the next level lets show them what you’ve got.

3D imaging of objects and structures that can be interactively manipulated on your web page for your marketing purposes is now possible. You no longer need NASA you need Helix UAV.

Aerial Inspection

Aerial Surveying

Aerial Media

Aerial Imaging

Icon Logo for Helix UAV Drone Services 2



Government organisations or subsidiaries wishing to request assistance from Helix UAV during this extremely difficult time can send their requests via our dedicated email address:


07480 041928


Please use the form below if you wish to subscribe to our news service. Please follow government guidelines and stay safe





You have sent your message