The UK Government’s Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill has entered the second reading in Parliament.

The bill was initially introduced in October last year and the first reading took place on 9 January this year.

It is aimed at modernising airspace while addressing the illegal use of unmanned aircraft.

The second reading is a general debate on all aspects of the legislation. The new powers for the police include land, inspect and seize drones, as well as spot fine users.

If passed, the bill will empower the UK Transport Secretary to order airports to upgrade their airspace for fast, clean and low-noise journeys.

In the event of certain offences, including failing to provide evidence for flying their device too high or too close to buildings and competency or registration, drone users are liable to be penalised immediately.

The bill will also review the Police Act 1997 and empower the police to conduct search around airports, prisons and other restricted areas.

UK Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “Drones have incredible potential, whether that’s by transforming how we move goods around or saving lives in search and rescue missions.

“Most people using drones want to do so responsibly, and we encourage them to familiarise themselves with the law.

“We are confident these police powers will be used proportionately to both deter careless drone use and to tackle serious, malicious criminal activity.”

Since November 2019, the government has required small unmanned aircraft to register and take an online competency test for operation.