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Use of drones/unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

Drone flights over the River Thames

The tidal Thames is the busiest inland waterway in the UK and the river is used by a wide variety of vessels. Vessels range from the world’s largest container ships to small recreational craft. The river’s bridges, embankment areas and piers are popular areas for its passengers and of course the passing general public. The river is also home to high profile attractions, high security buildings and structures, and a vast amount of construction work.

The Port of London Authority have the responsibility to ensure safety to all of those using the River Thames and as such would need to be notified about any intended UAV flight over the river. 

Those wishing to fly a UAV over the Thames should notify us at the earliest opportunity, completing as much detail as possible below.

Our team will satisfy themselves that the intended flight will not cause a hazard to navigation and then acknowledge any notification. It may be that some flights require a filming licence, or further controls to protect those using the river and if this is the case our team will respond directly with further questions.

Any person wishing to fly a UAV over the River Thames should also ensure they are aware of the relevant legislation and codes of practice applicable to them, and to which they must comply. Operators should also where necessary have sought permission from:

  1. Civil Aviation Authority;
  2. National Air Traffic Services;
  3. Relevant riparian (riverside) local authority and landowner consent where the drone flight and exclusion area will impact on adjacent land;
  4. Metropolitan Police filming unit (in the central London area).


Click here to submit flight information via our Drone Online Notification Portal