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Minister strongly supports the idea of public dialogue on drones in the UK

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Robert Goodwill MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport strongly supported the idea of public dialogue on remotely piloted aircraft systems (drones) in the UK. The Minister's remarks were captured in the transcript of evidence taken by House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union Inquiry on the Civil Use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), on 1 December 2014.

The Minster described the cross-Whitehall group on RPAS, set up to inform government and develop policy in this new and emerging aviation sector. He then pointed out that the fifth of five key objectives for this group was "to engage in a public dialogue - this is probably the most important one [objective] at this stage - on the use of civil and military remotely piloted aircraft systems in the UK."

The Minister went on to say that the group's work "includes consulting a range of stakeholders and the general public that will help to shape policy in this area. We anticipate that this public engagement will take place during 2015."

He went on to say that the purpose of the dialogue is "to better understand the public's perception and their concerns about the use of unmanned aircraft in the UK ... This work will help to shape and inform future government policy in this area."

A Concept Note for funding from Sciencewise for a public dialogue on this topic was circulated on 3 February 2015. The development of the project is continuing (April 2015).