Rugby Air Force? Council will buy drone to monitor fly-tipping and watch for unauthorised encampments

The initial cost will be just under £10k, but the council believes the drone will save the authority money in the long run

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 10:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 10:08 am
File image, Getty Images.

A drone will be used by officers from Rugby Borough Council after plans were approved by members of cabinet at their meeting this week, June 28.

The technology will be used by a number of departments and the initial £9,800 will cover the cost of the machine, training for two people and the various licences required by the Civil Aviation Authority.

A report told councillors: “The purchase of a council-owned and operated aerial camera system would enable the council to carry out its own aerial site surveys with subsequent cost saving from having to buy bespoke commercial photographs and videos.

“Purchasing our own drone will enable us to determine the full range of their use, both internally and for potential future commercially minded ventures.

"This report is for requesting cabinet to authorise the purchase of equipment and training and maintenance based on a drone lasting five years.”

It explained that after the initial cost of buying the £5,000 drone and training, subsequent years would cost the council £2,300 before the equipment would need replacing.

Cllr Derek Poole (Con, Wolston and the Lawfords), the portfolio holder for regulation and safety, said: “I see this as a real advantage but I am also aware that people may be concerned about privacy.

"The council has a duty to protect privacy in where we film and how we handle data and the storage and disposal of personal data.

“We are confident that our proposed uses including the survey of sites for development, monitoring dangerous buildings where it is not safe for officers to enter, roof surveys of council properties, monitoring fly-tipping and protecting sites from unauthorised encampments will be seen by our residents as a positive move to provide better services and increased protection for the public.”

There was unanimous support from cabinet members and from leaders of the opposition groups.

Cllr Kathryn Lawrence (Con, Hillmorton) added: “One of the results of the pandemic is that the planning committee have been unable to carry out site visits and I see the use of a drone as being a real advantage as it can do the site visit without members of the committee having to take time off work.

“I see it as a real advantage for the planning committee going forward.”