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Drones industry could be worth £45bn to the UK alone by 2030


Drones offer potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and create a multi billion-a-year industry, a new report suggests.

Drones deployed across land, sea and air to rapidly could safely and efficiently accelerate growth by capitalising on an industry estimated to be worth over £45 billion to the UK alone by 2030, according to a landmark national strategy presented this week to the UK Government.

The White Paper, ‘A National Strategy for Drones Across Land, Sea and Air’, was submitted to Government by the Drone Delivery Group an independent collaboration of over 400 leading industry experts, commentators and stakeholders.

The White Paper that received extensive support from feedback during its consultation period unveils a strategy for the UK government to facilitate the adoption of autonomous drone technology, safely and securely across the UK, potentially adding billions to the UK economy and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

One of the key concerns driving the need for the White Paper is to address the current lack of harmonisation between the application of regulations and industry standards between air, land and maritime drones.

“For hundreds of years, it has been widely accepted that traditional forms of transport would not dramatically evolve past their original purpose, with aircraft flying in the sky, ships sailing on seas and cars driving on roads,” said Robert Garbett, chairman of the Senior Advisory Board of the Drone Delivery Group.

“With the exciting potential of the drone industry, this is now no longer the case.  Drones have created a paradigm shift which requires an evolution in the way the UK regulates in this area to avoid stifling an opportunity for UK Plc which could force the majority of drone business overseas. 

“We are calling on the UK Government to lay the foundations for our industry to flourish, and in so doing, lead the world in this remarkable technology. Today, we have set out a strategy, to develop a harmonised and coordinated approach to standards and regulations, across land, sea and air, in order to realise the benefit for generations to come.”

It is now agreed by industry experts that it is inevitable that autonomous or remotely piloted drones will form an integral part of the world economy, helping to shape a cleaner and more prosperous economic outlook. 

However, there is currently still an urgent need for strong support and acknowledgement within Government for a harmonised approach to the regulation and standardisation of drones across land, sea and air in the UK. 

Garbett, added: “PWC recently revised its forecast for the economic benefit of drone technology, estimating it at £45bn in contributions and £22bn in net savings to UK plc by 2030, equivalent to some 1.6 per cent of projected GDP and this estimate focuses solely on the use of drones in the air! Consider land, maritime and air drones together and you have a huge growth opportunity which is ready to be taken forward now.

“Drone technology can also reduce carbon emissions by 2.4m tonnes, but none of this will be possible unless the UK changes the way that it regulates drones across land, sea and air, with safety and the security of data being the main priorities.  It is vital that the Government acts now to firmly establish the UK as an industry leader in drone technology.”

The White Paper, along with the 3 associated research papers supporting its recommendations, is available to read in full here.

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