Planning Committee to Purchase own Fleet of Drones

With optional GT Encampment and Houses in Barns, Enforcement Attachment

Droneep

Epping Forest

Purchase of Aerial Camera System PDF 442 KB

(Governance & Development Management Portfolio Holder) To consider the attached report (C-063-2015/16).

Decision:

(1)        That two aerial camera systems and associated training be purchased for £5,000, under the ‘Invest to Save’ scheme, to enable the Council to carry out its own aerial photographic surveys for a number of different sections across all four Directorates.

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Governance & Development Management presented a report on the proposed purchase of an aerial camera system.

 

The Portfolio Holder stated that the purchase of a Council owned and operated aerial camera system would enable the Council to carry out its own aerial and oblique surveys of sites, with a subsequent cost saving from not having to buy bespoke commercial photographs and videos, and would enable the use of a flexible and responsive system to carry out these surveys at short notice and to a bespoke option to suit the user. The potential users would include Development Management, Planning Enforcement, Trees & Landscape, Private Sector Housing, Housing Repairs, Emergency Planning, Council Tax, and the Engineering, Drainage and Water Team. It was envisaged that more sections would find uses for the system as it came into operation. There was also the option to use the system to generate an income stream for the Council in the sale of air time to other authorities and agencies. The Cabinet was requested to authorise the purchase of the equipment and training for a cost of £5,000. The systems would be purchased and operated by the GIS Section.

 

In response to questions from the Members present, the Portfolio Holder stated that the aerial photographs for an average meeting of Area Planning Sub-Committee East, with ten applications, would cost approximately £1,200 as they currently cost £120 each. The applicant and neighbours could be alerted about possible overflying when the Council wrote to inform them about the planning application; covert operations would be covered by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. There could be potential issues if the operators were not properly trained, but Council staff who operated the system would be properly trained. Flying in controlled airspaces, such as North Weald Airfield or Stansted, would require prior written permission.

 

The Portfolio Holder felt that residents were now more relaxed about aerial views of their properties; the reliability of the cameras were better and the training of the operators were better. There was the potential to sell the aerial photographs commercially, but the Council would still be subject to the provisions of the various Data Protection Acts. The intention would be to fly high enough that there would be no danger to either humans or livestock. The aerial camera systems would be available for use across the Council, but there had not yet been any discussions with neighbouring Councils regarding their possible hire. It was intended to transport the drone to the required location, rather than fly it from a central location within the District to the required location. A policy for the usage of the systems would be drafted and agreed.

 

Decision:

 

(1)        That two aerial camera systems and associated training be purchased for £5,000, under the ‘Invest to Save’ scheme, to enable the Council to carry out its own aerial photographic surveys for a number of different sections across all four Directorate

One thought on “Planning Committee to Purchase own Fleet of Drones

  1. ‘It was envisaged that more sections would find uses for the system as it came into operation’: the 21st century version of Parkinson’s ‘Work expands to fill the time available’.

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