Council, 9 June 2016.

1. Purpose

This policy guides approvals for requests for consent to fly Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS, also known as model planes and "drones") above Council-owned property.

2. Principles

The policy will consider approving requests so as to:

  1. Manage for local hazards, privacy and the noise aspects associated with RPAS
  2. Enable equitable access to recreational and commercial opportunities within multiple-use environments.

3. Policy Context

The Civil Aviation Rules (CAR) introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in August 2015 require RPAS operators to obtain Council approval to fly above Council-owned property. Council property includes parks and reserves; transport corridors such as roads and cycleways (but not state highways); and buildings and facilities (such as community centres and waste transfer stations).

4. Scope and definition

This policy covers all RPAS that fit the following CAA definition under Subpart E of CAR Part 101:

  1. Remotely Piloted Aircraft: "an unmanned aircraft that is piloted from a remote station and includes a radio controlled model aircraft." Also called RPAS, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
  2. Control Line model aircraft: "a model aircraft primarily controlled in flight by a single or multiple wire system operated by the person flying the aircraft and restricted to circular flight about a central point."
  3. Free Flight Model Aircraft: "a model aircraft with a maximum wing loading of 62 g/dm2 (20 oz/ft2), with a flight path that, once launched, is uncontrollable."

5. Policy Conditions

5.1 Generic conditions applying to all Council property

  1. All RPAS operators will adhere to CAR Part 101 regulations: link)
  2. Council does not accept any liability for any action or inaction by a RPAS operator causing loss, damage and/or injury 
  3. Any breach of this policy could result in the RPAS operator being requested to cease flying or the termination of consent to fly a RPAS over Council property. 

5.2 Parks and Reserves

  1. RPAS that weigh less than 1.5kg may operate in parks and reserves without requesting consent except for the areas identified in 5.2 (iii) 
  2. RPAS that weigh more than 1.5 kg, OR a RPAS operator wishing to fly in any park or reserve identified in 5.2(iii), may request consent. Consent may be granted on a case-by-case basis 
  3. RPAS, regardless of weight, may not be operated without consent in the following areas1
    1. Garden and heritage parks, cemeteries
    2. Within ten metres of an open-air public pool or playground or the boundary of any park
    3. The Council's legal road corridor on the coast - Scarborough Boat Ramp to Godley Head, and on Banks Peninsula
    4. Over Council land at Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere); Birdlings Flat; Brooklands Lagoon; Travis Wetland; Charlesworth Reserve; McCormack's Bay; South Shore Spit; Bromley Oxidation ponds; Bexley Wetland; Ferrymead Wetland, and Linwood Paddock.

5.3 All other Council property and events
Applicants are referred to the Civil Aviation Authority to apply for permission under CAR Part 102. The Council will consider consenting flights over roads, buildings and events once the applicant provides: 

  1. Evidence of CAR Part 102 certification 
  2. Evidence of public liability insurance cover and aviation insurance covering the use of the RPAS 
  3. Flight plans, including a hazard and/or a traffic management plan 
  4. Evidence of adequate safety assessments and controls prior to conducting RPAS flights over Council buildings. 

5.4 Long-term work programmes
Provided policy conditions are met, RPAS operators with pre-determined flight paths for programmes of work may apply, providing flight path details, for one consent to cover that programme of work for a period of time up to 12 months. 

5.5 Police and emergency situations

  1. There is no requirement for the New Zealand Police, civil defence and emergency management officials to apply to the Council for permission to fly above Council property in the event of an emergency.2
  2. Other than RPAS used by the civil defence and emergency management officials under 5.5(i) above, no approval is given to fly a RPAS over any Council property within 1 kilometre of an emergency situation which is being actively attended by emergency officials.

6. Links to legislation, other policies and community outcomes

6.1 Civil Aviation Authority Rules (Part 101 and Part 102)

6.2 Council Community Outcomes - Strong Communities:

  1. There is increasing participation in recreation and sporting activities
  2. People have equitable access to parks, open spaces, recreation facilities and libraries
  3. Injuries and risks to public health are minimised.

6.3 Parks and Reserves Bylaw Aircraft Clause
13.3 (a) "a person may operate … in a reserve if the Council has set aside an area for that purpose, and then only in accordance with such conditions that are set by Council" and 13.4 "enables the Council, by resolution, to determine any reserve where …. aircraft may not be flown". This policy identifies these areas in 5.2 (i) and (iii). 

6.4 Guidelines from Transpower
Transpower provides guidelines for flying RPAS near electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure(external link) (including substations and high-voltage power lines).

6.5 Wildlife Act 1953

(external link)
6.6 Privacy Act 2020(external link)

7. Delegations

The Chief Executive may delegate authority to approve applications under this policy to a Council staff member.  

Explanatory note only: RPAS operators are reminded that most of Christchurch City is located within Civil Aviation Authority "controlled airspace". All RPAS operators must be aware of, and comply with, Civil Aviation Rules at all times. To provide for safe and legal operations, RPAS pilots are referred to the following sources of information and recommended to register with Airshare:

 1 These areas were resolved by Council under the Aircraft clause of the Parks and Reserves Bylaw 2008 to take effect on 1 August 2016. 

2 For the purposes of this policy an "emergency situation" is defined as a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action to avoid injury, loss of life or damage to property.