Grand National no-fly zone put in place to prevent drone use

In a bid to crack down on illegal betting activity, the Merseyside Police and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have put a 2,000ft high, one mile wide no-fly zone which is hoped to prevent the use of drones at this week’s Grand National at Aintree Racecourse.

Drones have persistently caused problems for horse racing over the last few years. Footage at The Grand National is delayed by two seconds, but drones have previously been used to give punters an unfair advantage while placing bets before the racing footage is screened to bookmakers.

A spokesperson for the CAA commented: “There is an airspace restriction in place around Aintree that only applies to drones.

“The restriction will be in place from 7.30am to 6.30pm each day from April 4 to 6 and prohibits the use of an unmanned aircraft/drones below 2,000ft.”

Specialist firm Crowded Space are said to be working alongside Aintree Racecourse to monitor and prevent the use of drones by utilising detection technology to monitor when the pilot of a drone has broken any regulations, like flying too low or too close to public exclusion zones.

Merseyside Police have since confirmed that any breach of the exclusion zone by those using drones would be `classed a criminal offence’, and appropriate action would be taken.

The news follows recent efforts made by racecourse officials, such as The Racecourse Association (RCA), to develop plans which will ban drone usage at UK courses.

The RCA admitted at the time that there is ‘limited further action’ on what can be undertaken to combat their use, but pointed out that industry stakeholders should collaborate with the CAA to develop new risk assessments.

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