THE Government is to develop a new mobile counter-drone unit to be deployed to incidents related to the devices and major events across the UK.

Security Minister Brandon Lewis will today unveil a “counter-drone” strategy he says will ensure individuals, businesses and emergency services can continue to harness the economic and social benefits of drones, while cracking down on misuse and disruption.

It comes in the wake of chaos at Gatwick Airport last December when about 1,000 flights were cancelled or diverted over a 36-hour period due to a security breach by a drone. 

A number of other airports have also been forced to suspend flights due to drone activity, including Heathrow.

The strategy includes plans to help establish international standards for manufacturers to enable safety features being designed in drones from the outset, making them safe for use in the UK.

Mr Lewis said: “This Government is proud of the UK’s burgeoning drone industry and We will do all we can to ensure the UK firmly establishes itself as a world leader in this industry. 

“But to ensure the drone industry can thrive in this country we must be able to crack down effectively on those who would use drones to cause harm or disruption.

“There is no silver bullet to help protect our infrastructure and our citizens from malicious or careless drone use. That’s why this strategy outlines a broad range of work to ensure we can effectively tackle the threat.”

The use of unmanned aircraft has grown significantly in recent years and the industry is expected to contribute an extra £42 billion to the UK economy by 2030, with more than 76,000 commercial and public sector drones expected to be in use by then.