Following a review of an incident that took place at Newmarket Racecourse in July 2016, which was the subject of a Stewards Inquiry, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced today that it is now able to consider applications to operate drones on racecourses following amendments to the operating guidelines.
The BHA has consulted with relevant stakeholders, including the Racecourse Association (RCA), Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and National Trainers Federation (NTF), to ensure the concerns of their members were considered fully and that there was agreement on new guidelines for the future ongoing use of Drones.
Brant Dunshea, Head of Raceday Operations for the BHA, said:
“Having reviewed the guidelines for the use of Drones in collaboration with stakeholders, we have made appropriate amendments to the operating guidelines to ensure that Drones can once again be used in a safe and controlled manner on racecourses.
“The new operating guidelines reflect feedback received from the RCA, PJA and the NTF and highlight the importance of protecting the welfare of our participants, equine and human.”
Notes to editors:
A summary of the amendments to the operating guidelines is listed below:
- The use of Drones will no longer be permitted in races confined to 2 year olds;
- The use of Drones will no longer be permitted in maiden class races;
- Any approved operator is to provide a “Spotter”, who will be positioned so that the starter can communicate with him/her easily, and who will also have direct communications with the Drone Pilot at all times;
- When horses are present at the start, in addition to the existing regulatory requirements imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority, the minimum altitude at which a Drone may be flown is 50 metres from the ground, excluding take-off and landing;
- When following at the rear and to the side of the field in-running, in addition to the existing regulatory requirements imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority, the minimum altitude at which a Drone may be flown remains unchanged at 30 metres from the ground, excluding take-off and landing;
- Any operator who has not previously been approved by the BHA must make an application to the BHA Raceday Operations Department no less than four weeks in advance of the intended date of flight;
- Any previously approved operator must submit a request to operate to the BHA Raceday Operations Department at least 10 days prior to the intended date of flight.