DRONES will be banned from being flown within five kilometres of Bournemouth Airport from today.

New legislation has been introduced which extends the no-fly zones for drones around airports, replacing the one-kilometre restriction currently in place.

Chaos at Gatwick Airport in the run-up to Christmas prompted the change in the law. Concern about the misuse of drones has grown after sightings of the devices caused flights to be grounded for over 36 hours.

The extended zone around Bournemouth Airport means drone users will be banned from flying the gadgets over a much wider swathe of the conurbation, unless they have permission from air traffic control at the airport or the airport itself.

The new zone extends to Bear Cross and North Ripley at its widest points – five kilometres from each end of the airport’s runway.

It also includes Sopley, Jumpers Common, Moordown, Kinson, Longham, Trickett’s Cross, and St Leonards.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s code of conduct, the Dronecode, sets out existing rules for drone users, including staying below 400 feet and flying at least 50 metres away from buildings and people.

Merley and Bearwood councillor David Brown learned of the extended zone around Bournemouth Airport at a recent meeting of the North Bournemouth Area Forum.

He said: “In some ways it’s a shame that an incident at Gatwick Airport has made it necessary to widen the no-fly zones for drones. Kinson and north Bournemouth are areas that have been impacted by this, and I would hope that people with a genuine reason to fly a drone will be able to get an exemption for these areas.

“We’ve got to accept for safety reasons it’s necessary to have these exclusion zones. Pelhams Park and Millhams Mead are public open spaces where people might want to use a drone.”

There were 125 near misses between drones and aircraft reported in 2018, up 34 per cent on the total of 93 during the previous year.

Just six incidents were recorded in 2014.

The Government is working on a new Drones Bill which will give police officers powers to stop and search people suspected of using drones maliciously above 400ft or within five kilometres of an airport.

It will also give forces the power to access electronic data stored on a drone with a warrant.

From November 30 the owners of drones which weigh between 250g and 20kg will be required to register their devices, and drone pilots will have to pass an online safety test.