All 5 Lord Craig of Radley contributions to the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Act 2021

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Mon 27th Jan 2020
Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL]
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2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading
Mon 10th Feb 2020
Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL]
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Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee stage
Thu 21st Jan 2021
Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL]
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Report stage (Hansard) & Report stage (Hansard): House of Lords & Report stage
Thu 28th Jan 2021
Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL]
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3rd reading (Hansard) & 3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 3rd reading
Tue 20th Apr 2021
Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL]
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Consideration of Commons amendments & Lords Hansard

Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL] Debate

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Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL]

Lord Craig of Radley Excerpts
2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading
Monday 27th January 2020

(2 years, 5 months ago)

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Lord Craig of Radley Portrait Lord Craig of Radley (CB)
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My Lords, I am happy to support the purposes of the Bill. The first two parts, dealing with our very dated airspace management and air traffic services, are timely. Periodic review and update of airport departure and approach procedures are necessary. No airline operator wants to climb away many miles in the wrong direction for their intended destination than strictly necessary for safe flight. No passenger wants to be delayed by protracted stacking of incoming flights leading to longer time being spent aloft. Adjustments, no doubt with some give and take, must be found. The CAA is well placed to co-ordinate and adjudicate as necessary. Looking to the future, much further, more complicated and, I dare say, controversial air traffic management arrangements will be required if and when urban air mobility, in the shape of unmanned flying taxis, for example, reaches our shores.

The Bill deals only with civil aviation, which raises the question: how does this meld with MoD and Royal Air Force requirements? RAF Northolt is a vital MoD and civilian-use airfield very close to Heathrow. Its departure and approach requirements must be fitted into the overall requirements of a very busy airspace. Elsewhere, Brize Norton, for example, which operates the larger types of RAF aircraft, including passenger and freight, will need departure and arrival flight paths that do not conflict with other civilian routings.

The RAF has representation in the CAA, which is important if MoD and civil requirements for airspace management and air traffic services are all to be taken into consideration and able to work effectively together. However, the Explanatory Memorandum and the Bill are silent on this obvious MoD interest. Maybe I missed it.

Regrettably, I was unable to attend the pre-briefing meeting arranged by the Minister to discuss the Bill, when I should have been able to raise and query these and other MoD-related issues. I have, however, given the Minister prior notice of my points and some others dealing with unmanned aircraft. For the record, I would welcome her response to them, either when winding up or by a letter later.

I welcome the part on unmanned aircraft, too. All flights need to take place without risk of collision. Like a bird strike, a small drone could smash the windscreen and injure those on the flight deck, or seriously damage or destroy the engine of an aircraft. It could be the cause of a fatal accident if a helicopter blade struck even a very small drone. A light unmanned aircraft could well be made unstable and plummet to earth if exposed to the significant wake turbulence created by large aircraft, endangering individuals on the ground.

Keeping all manned or unmanned aircraft well apart is fundamental to safety in the air. The incident at Gatwick in December 2018, which has been mentioned, gave us all a real live example of a highly annoying, disruptive and potentially disastrous event, for which Gatwick, the Department for Transport and, indeed, the Home Office seemed ill prepared. The lack of police or other authority powers to deal with the perpetrators or the offending drones became all too clear. The incentive that this Gatwick fright created—to devise real-time active disruption, even destruction, of illegally operated unmanned aircraft—has started to produce results, but can the Minister confirm that policy and legal cover are in place?

The consultation which led to Part 3 of the Bill covered many areas of weakness or incapacity that emerged from Gatwick’s experience, and the policy and legal approaches required. However, I would prefer part of the punishment for infringement by small unmanned aircraft to be confiscation by the police, and for lesser infringements to attract a fixed penalty notice. Knowing that one’s kit and airframe will be confiscated if the rules are flouted could be a powerful deterrent to illegal use, and a powerful deterrent including a fine or imprisonment is what is required. The risk of disaster if there is a collision, or even a near miss, is so great. Other considerations, such as alcohol tests for operators, come to mind. There may be good reasons why such requirements would not be workable, but I would welcome the Minister’s comments.

I note that permission to search the property of a suspected drone or SUA operator requires the approval of a chief constable, and that includes the chief constable of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. Presumably, similar arrangements cater for infringements of MoD holdings, and not just airfields. I am thinking of, for example, Faslane—the Royal Navy’s nuclear deterrent base—or the Atomic Weapons Establishment, because SUAs might mount more than just a surveillance camera, so possibly lethal dangers that they could carry should be considered.

The Bill stresses the responsibility of the pilot or controller of the drone. Is the Minister satisfied that the wording is comprehensive enough; for example, in paragraph 1 of Schedule 8? Does reference to the person controlling the unmanned aircraft also cover the case of the aircraft following an automated flight programme and not being controlled by an operator on the ground? The constable may have a problem requesting the automated drone to be grounded if that is how it has been programmed.

Referring to the fixed penalty notice section, the Explanatory Notes outline that an offence would be created had a person unknowingly flown within 50 metres of a building yet had caused no harm. It may not be for the passage of this Bill, but I foresee some difficulty in measuring and applying a 50-metre rule, possibly of short duration and without the advantage that a speed camera has of recording evidence on the road.

Finally, can the Minister confirm whether the consent of the devolved Administrations is required for any of these proposals, and if so, has it been obtained?

Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL] Debate

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Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL]

Lord Craig of Radley Excerpts
Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee stage
Monday 10th February 2020

(2 years, 4 months ago)

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Lord Tunnicliffe Portrait Lord Tunnicliffe (Lab)
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My Lords, for the convenience of the House, I draw attention to the penultimate line on the front page of today’s list, which states that the target for the day is to complete Amendment 23. That means that we are not going to do drones today. No Member has moved from their seat; never mind.

The essence of this group of amendments, with which I broadly agree, is to prevent mission creep. Having sat on the Front Bench opposite, I recall that whenever you create a right for the Government to do something or other, civil servants will creep up to you and say: “Make sure it is not restricted, because you might need it.” I fear that, far too often, they do.

The Minister wrote to me and several other noble Lords. On the second page of her letter, under the heading “Proportionality”, her second sentence states:

“It is the government’s intention that, at least initially, the powers to direct in clauses 2 and 3 would only be used by the Secretary of State in relation to ACPs that have been identified within the airspace change masterplan, currently being developed by NERL through the Airspace Change Organising Group (ACOG) with a view to incorporation of the masterplan into the CAA’s airspace strategy”.


I read the whole sentence for the avoidance of doubt. The words that sprung out at me are, “at least initially”. Further on in the letter, the Minister seeks to soften those words with a series of intentions. However, intentions are not law: they are the words of the Minister. If she repeats those words into Hansard they become a little more useful. Nevertheless, there is a serious issue with that part of the Bill ending up in mission creep. There are so many things for which the CAA or the Government might wish to use these powers.

I share the view that the task in front of those who are trying to deliver the programme is such that consultation—ideally on the face of the Bill, as put forward by Amendment 4—would be useful. It would certainly be useful to hear the extent to which the Minister can assure the House about consultation. On the appeals procedure, I refer again to the noble Baroness’s extremely useful letter, in which she says:

“There is no formal appeals process against an ACAA decision relating to individual ACPs. CAP1616 is a fully transparent process in which consultation and engagement exercises are run throughout.”


With the greatest respect, a consultation and engagement exercise is not an appeal. Because of the extent to which this process is entirely within the CAA’s ambit, one can see a situation where, without some hook in primary legislation, small fish in this sea could find themselves swamped. A formal appeals procedure somewhere in the Bill might usefully add to it. I hope that the Minister will be able to react to those ideas.

Lord Craig of Radley Portrait Lord Craig of Radley (CB)
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My Lords, I first pick up the question that the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, started with, which is whether we shall end at the target of Amendment 23. My understanding is that we shall, because that has been agreed through the usual channels. Amendment 24 is in my name, so it is important that I can be confident that we will stop, if we get that far, at Amendment 23. I take the nodding to mean that that is the case and I appreciate it.

While I am on my feet, may I ask a more general question about all these amendments? There has been a great deal of talk about the interests of the civilian side of the aviation industry and how it interacts with the Department for Transport and the CAA, but I am not clear how the Ministry of Defence’s position will be properly safeguarded. The CAA has RAF representation, but I do not feel that that is at a high enough level and I would like to be reassured that the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence are in continuous contact, at the right level, on these points. The Ministry of Defence, and the Royal Air Force in particular, needs aviation space not only for getting in and out of airfields; they also have training needs and other areas that have to be safeguarded if the Royal Air Force is to continue to be effective in its training.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton
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My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, for introducing this group. I also thank my noble friend Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate. I note that he strayed into the area of costs, which is the subject of a later group, but I look forward to his later contribution. As many noble Lords have pointed out, it is important that the Secretary of State is given the powers required to deliver airspace modernisation, but also that these powers are proportionate and do not go further than needed.

Clauses 2 and 3 of Part 1 give the Secretary of State the power to direct a person involved in airspace change to progress an airspace change proposal as required, or direct a person to co-operate with somebody else who is progressing an airspace change proposal. This means that airspace change will not be held up. I think that is an established fact and all noble Lords can agree with it. Additionally, it ensures the delivery of the full range of airspace modernisation outcomes. Again, I have already mentioned that there are many important initiatives within airspace modernisation. These may be related to safety, capacity, noise, air quality, fuel efficiency, improving access to airspace for all users, military access or the introduction of new technology.

On improving access to airspace for all users, the issue of uncontrolled and controlled airspace has been rumbling along for a little while. It dates back to 2018, so airports have been aware that there was going to be a further look at airspace classification for quite some time. Initiative 10 of the airspace modernisation strategy was set out by the then Secretary of State and enhanced in October 2019, when the air navigation directives directed the CAA to progress the identification of airspace volumes. This is all about the balance between commercial aviation and general aviation. I do not believe that a single Member of your Lordships’ House believes that one necessarily has to have priority over the other. It is a question of proportionality and balance.

I want to mention military airspace at this point. We speak to the military all the time. When I was Aviation Minister, I used to chair the Airspace Strategy Board, the highest level of ministerial oversight over airspace modernisation, and somebody from the MoD was on the board. I forget what rank he was, but he made me feel quite small so he was quite senior, and he would contribute to our discussions. In my time on this Bill and in my previous life as Aviation Minister, I was not aware that people from the military had concerns about this process or the processes we oversee. We work well with them, ensuring that they have the access they need and know the processes for RAF Northolt to have the right routes to upper airspace, for example.

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Lord Berkeley Portrait Lord Berkeley
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My Lords, the two points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhope, and the noble Baroness are well illustrated by Newquay Airport in Cornwall, where I live. I use the airport occasionally. It is subject to a public service obligation which the county council has negotiated to ensure four return flights a day between Newquay and a London airport. It has been very successful. There has been recent discussion, as noble Lords will know, to change the London location from Heathrow back to Gatwick, for reasons we do not need to go into today. The point is that Newquay has a few flights going to other places in the UK, on the continent and in Ireland. It is also the base for Richard Branson’s latest idea of getting to the moon—taking passengers there, or something—which may be the subject of a government grant. It is odd, but if it was required to make changes to its airspace because of some other reason, the airport would be in severe financial difficulties. That is why it has been given a PSO: because it is an important part of improving the transport between Cornwall and London.

One can challenge or disagree with some of the text of the amendment, but the principle is there. If, when she comes to respond, the Minister does not like the wording, perhaps she can go away, have some discussions about it and come back with more acceptable wording. We should hold on to the principle of a small airport not being put to severe financial difficulty because of something over which it has no control.

Lord Craig of Radley Portrait Lord Craig of Radley
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I have no particular difficulty with the idea of compensating somebody who is being adversely affected by a decision for larger national reasons, but going back to the concern about the Ministry of Defence interests, let us suppose that a Ministry of Defence interest is such that it needs to be accepted. Looking ahead, the Armed Forces will have drones as well as manned airframes. Their needs may be quite unusual compared with the normal. In those circumstances, a decision would have to be taken either in the interests of the Ministry of Defence or the commercial civilian operator concerned. I am not clear how such a decision would be arrived at. Perhaps, once again, the Minister will be able to make it clearer to us all where the Ministry of Defence fits into this type of decision.

Lord Bradshaw Portrait Lord Bradshaw (LD)
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During the discussion that the Minister held in Committee Room G, I took the opportunity to talk to the legal advisers to the department, who assured me that consideration was being given to the financial detriment that may arise. How you determine that is quite difficult because if somebody has a detriment, presumably somebody has a gain. It will be a question of offsetting one against the other. I take the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, that this applies also to remote areas of Scotland with access to the very busiest airports, such as Edinburgh—which is much prized by the small places that have one or two flights a week but is considered almost a nuisance by the large airports.

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Lord Craig of Radley Portrait Lord Craig of Radley
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My Lords, I wonder whether the Minister can clear up something in my mind and perhaps in those of other noble Lords. We have talked about general aviation in the usual sense but, looking to the future, we will get more unmanned aircraft either working commercially in one form or another or working for the emergency services and so on. Will they get classified as general aviation? If so, should not their interests also be taken into account? I would like clarification on that particular point.

Lord Trefgarne Portrait Lord Trefgarne
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My Lords, I likewise thank the noble Baroness. I must declare an interest. The Light Aircraft Association referred to in the amendment was once the Popular Flying Association, of which I had the honour of being president for a number of years, although I have long since ceased to do that.

There is some merit in concentrating the Secretary of State’s mind on these matters from time to time. I am therefore not unsympathetic to the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe—although hopefully today’s exchanges will serve the same purpose.

Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL] Debate

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Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL]

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Baroness Randerson Portrait Baroness Randerson (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I will speak to Amendment 14 and give notice that I am minded to put it to a vote at the end of the debate. As I said earlier, this Bill is a bit of a mess—through no fault of the Minister; it is simply the passage of time, and time has definitely taken its toll. This applies in particular to the clauses on unmanned aircraft.

Since 2016, I have been urging the Government to bring forward legislation on drones. The Minister reminds us from time to time that unmanned aircraft include model aircraft, but I am concerned here solely with drones. In the five years since I first addressed this issue, drone technology has been transformed, and so has the number of drones in operation. They are of massive importance to our military, to the police and other emergency services, and to countless businesses across the UK. It is wonderful, transformative technology; it is also very worrying technology. In the wrong hands, drones carry illegal drugs, take illicit mobile phones into prisons and threaten major loss of life by interfering with flights, as we saw at Gatwick in 2019. “Wrong hands” obviously includes criminals, but also careless and untrained hands.

Since we started this Bill in 2019, EU legislation has been updated, and that is reflected in the details of the amendments here today. But they do not reflect the broader approach that is now needed. The Bill is a wasted opportunity, because it is largely a list of additional powers for the police. That approach is unsatisfactorily narrow, and my amendment outlines the broad approach that I believe needs to be taken. It needs to address the serious concerns of BALPA, the Airport Operators Association and many airlines about safety and security risks from drones. I have specified the range of issues I am worried about, but I do not believe it is an exclusive list. Some of them relate to technical advances, such as the availability of geofencing and remote ID. Others relate to possible shortcomings in criminal law in relation to the deliberate weaponisation of drones. Potential risks from overseas exist now that the technology allows longer-distance flying.

The amendment in this group in the name of the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig of Radley, also raises important issues about commercially used drones, which are often specialist and valuable. My amendment addresses the issue of the appropriate minimum age to be in charge of a drone. EU legislation allows a minimum age of 14, and the Government have supported this. But that is a minimum: it does not have to be that low within the EU rules, and, in any event, we have of course left the EU. Legislation allows drones to be registered to anyone over 18, but they can be flown by people younger than this, and there is no requirement for the registered owner to be present and in the line of sight of the person flying the drone. So, the question is whether this is sufficient supervision.

In preparation for this debate, I spent a long time online looking at adverts for drones, from under £100 to thousands of pounds. In all the adverts I looked at, I saw no reference at all to the rules on registration and supervision, line of sight, heights for flight and so on. Presumably, all that comes with the instructions in the box. But I am not entirely sure that everyone reads the instructions in the box carefully.

Also untouched by this Bill is the issue of privacy. There are serious concerns that drones can allow invasions of privacy. I said earlier that the Bill concentrates on police powers, but police use drones as a tool themselves, and they are a very useful tool in fighting crime. The vast majority of police forces now use drones, but there appears to be no overall dedicated guidance for police on the way in which they are to be deployed, or provision of information on how they should be used. This is a potentially controversial area, as we saw when Derbyshire police used drones at the start of the pandemic to watch walkers in the countryside, with the potential to levy fines on them.

This is a fast-developing technology, and my amendment recognises that by seeking a review of the legislation within six months, and every year thereafter, to ensure that it is, and remains, fit for purpose. I am not prescribing solutions, just outlining issues to be addressed and asking for a more comprehensive and effective approach to the whole issue of drones.

Lord Craig of Radley Portrait Lord Craig of Radley (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I support Amendment 14 and shall speak to Amendment 15, which stands in my name. It is a probing amendment and I shall not divide the House on it.

After Committee, I was informed that unmanned aircraft and drone operators holding CAA permission for commercial operation—PfCOs—were concerned about the scale of the police powers introduced by the Bill. Recent changes to the ANO 2016 affecting the use of unmanned aircraft have dispensed with PfCOs and new categories for unmanned aircraft operations are provided for all users. The concern is that use of the police powers designed principally for recreational users or potential criminal use could cause commercial operators loss of time or money, or even cause them to fail to meet a contract.

For example, a building inspection by a drone operator might involve manoeuvres putting the drone closer to the structure than would be acceptable for a hobby user. Were the police to order the immediate grounding of a drone in such a CAA-approved use or, looking to the future, of a drone with CAA operational authorisation for beyond visual sight, extended visual sight or even swarm flights, this could lead to business disruption and loss. Would the police consider a complaint from the public reasonable grounds to order grounding? Would the police authority be responsible for such a commercial loss? I expect not, but serious cases might lead to some form of claim by insurers or the operators themselves, so it is reasonable to suggest that, for flights with CAA operational authorisation, the most the police might be required to do would be to seek presentation of the CAA approval licence, as new Schedule 9 envisages. If still concerned, the police should report the operator to the CAA, which already has extensive statutory powers for investigation and sanction.

As the Minister informed me in an exchange of letters we have had about this amendment, new risk-based categories apply to all UA activities, but this does not seem to be any reason for commercial operators, however approved or risk-assessed by the CAA, to be less concerned about the difficulties they might face if the police powers were to be exercised in ways that, maybe inadvertently, were to delay or interfere with the approved use which the CAA had given to the commercial operator.

These operators are further concerned about the level of knowledge of the relevant extensive ANO and CAP 722 publications required of regional police forces to deal with unmanned aircraft operating commercially and whether their increased workload will be funded, particularly as this activity expands. No one would welcome a breach of trust between the police and commercial businesses if police involvement were to be disruptive to commercial use. In further exchanges with the Minister—I thank her for her engagement with me over these concerns—I have not been given sufficient reassurance about the way police powers in this Bill will be used so as not to lead to potentially harmful outcomes for the commercial operator.

There is considerable growth potential in the commercial use of UAs and, indeed, in the market globally for such remotely controlled devices. The Government quote an addition of £42 billion and more than 600,000 jobs by 2030. The Bill provides an opportunity to show that such commercial users are recognised and being supported by statute and regulation specifically designed to deal with, but not onerously restrict, their activities.

A further consideration is whether some statutory approved way to claim for loss, disruption or damage to the business of the commercial operator—for example, if its unmanned aircraft was incorrectly impounded by the police—should be provided. Would this too be by means of secondary legislation, as envisaged for appeals against fixed penalty fines?

Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL] Debate

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Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL]

Lord Craig of Radley Excerpts
Baroness Randerson Portrait Baroness Randerson (LD)
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My Lords, I start by thanking the Minister and her officials for the time and patience they have devoted to explaining the Bill and, in particular, the many amendments. I am very grateful to them, as I am to the noble Lords, Lord Rosser and Lord Tunnicliffe, and all noble Lords who added their expertise to our debates.

This Bill is, I believe, the third recent attempt at aviation legislation. On Report, I called the Bill a bit of a mess: it is, indeed, an extraordinary saga, worthy of featuring in one of the excellent briefings we get from our Library about historic aspects of our proceedings. There can rarely have been a year between Committee and Report on a Bill, and certainly not a year of such momentous events. Covid and Brexit have both had a profound effect on aviation, and technological development meant that drone capability has greatly increased.

There are now three elements to the Bill; it started with only two. The modernisation of airspace seemed urgent a year ago—less so now that flights are at a fraction of previous numbers. However, concerns remain for airport operators about the conflict between the CAA’s new enforcement powers and other aspects of their role. There are concerns about the financial costs of modernisation at a time when airports have suffered severely financially, and concern about the requirement to release so-called spare airspace capacity for general aviation.

The wholly new section on slot waivers is a direct result of the pandemic and is welcome in order to avoid environmentally damaging ghost flights, but I remain concerned and hope that the Government will make sure that in future the rules are tightened to ensure fair competition and fair prices for consumers.

The section on unmanned aircraft has been subject to wholesale rewriting because of the changed legal situation. However, it is still far too narrow in scope, concentrating on new police powers rather than on the modern capabilities of drone technology and how drones should be used safely and effectively.

My amendment, which would have ensured a wholesale review, narrowly failed to secure a majority. However, I hope that the Minister and her colleagues will take that approach in the near future, because BALPA, our airports and airlines, as well as many drone manufacturers and commercial operators, believe that more is needed on this. The Bill now goes to the other place and I am sure that many Members there will pick up on the issues that I have referred to.

Lord Craig of Radley Portrait Lord Craig of Radley (CB) [V]
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My Lords, from the Cross Benches, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Vere, and the Bill team. I am grateful to have this opportunity to speak.

As others have pointed out, the Bill must have gained an entry in the Guinness book of records. It started life in your Lordships’ House with its First and Second Readings over a year ago. After Committee in early February, it sat month after Covid month in the pending tray, then, at the last minute, the Bill team had to drag it swiftly into a new framework—one created by that large amendment to ANO 2016 that took effect so close to Report. However much forewarned, it cannot have been a straightforward task to draft and present so faultlessly the plethora of government amendments required to bring the Bill up to date. That was a great effort that all should admire.

For the noble Baroness herself, it must have been a considerable challenge to master her brief on this complex subject so fully and comprehensively, and I pay tribute to her, too. I admit to having been something of a thorn in her side, but she willingly and courteously exchanged, both on and off the Floor, on our respective views. In her reply to my amendment on Report, she got one point spot on: she said that she suspected that I might not be reassured.

I expect the issue to resurface, but honest differences are the meat and drink of legislation. Given the complexity of this subject, the noble Baroness earns credit for her steady determination. When discussing drones a year ago in Committee, she said, referring to the future of manned and unmanned aircraft traffic management, that it would be

“a whole new world of pain.”—[Official Report, 10/2/20; col. 2111.]

I hope that the passage of the Bill has not been too painful for her. From the Cross Benches, I thank her and the Bill team for their efforts.

Baroness Watkins of Tavistock Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Baroness Watkins of Tavistock) (CB)
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I call the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, who I think is back in contact.

Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL] Debate

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Lord Bradshaw Portrait Lord Bradshaw (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I too would like to thank the noble Baroness, Lady Vere, for her gracious apology on behalf of the department for its omission. Of course, I accept that the amendments are necessary and, like the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, I thank all the people who have been associated with the Bill during its fairly long passage. I hope it may now pass into law.

Lord Craig of Radley Portrait Lord Craig of Radley (CB)
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My Lords, I too support these amendments. Finally, this Bill, which started its passage through Parliament in January 2020 is to reach the statute book. I am sure that, with a justified sense of pride and relief, the Minister and all those in her Bill team, who worked so hard to achieve this outcome, deserve the commendation received from all sides of the House.

It is a piece of legislation that will not stand still. The announcement that the CAA has approved trials of beyond-visual-sight operation of drones will need to be reflected in the instructions for policing unmanned aircraft presently set out in this legislation. That process will continue, I hope smoothly, as technology and experience help to chart the way ahead. Meanwhile, I join in commending the efforts made to enact this important business, for air traffic management in particular.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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I thank all noble Lords for their constructive engagement on these amendments, and for their comments and short contributions today.