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About the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems on, above, or crossing council land.

Statement Of Position

Use Of Aircraft (including Drones) On
Council Reserves, Roads And Other Land

The Civil Aviation Authority introduced new rules for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly known as drones or quadcopters, which came into effect on 1 August 2015. The rules can be viewed at

Use of Aircraft including Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) also known as drones, quadcopters, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) is controlled by Selwyn District Council on land owned or controlled by Selwyn District Council. Use on Council Reserves is controlled under the Parks and Reserves Bylaw and use on other land owned or controlled by Selwyn District Council (including roads and freehold land) is managed in accordance with CAA rules and Landowner requirements.

Aircraft (which includes any man made device capable of flight, including, but not limited to aeroplanes, helicopters, gliders, hang gliders, hot air balloons, radio controlled model aircraft and RPAS (but does not include kites and balloons which are controlled from the ground via strings)), of any weight may not be flown over any land owned, controlled or managed by Council (including reserves, parks and council maintained public roadway areas) unless prior written permission has been obtained from the Council.

Aircraft may be flown in Council Recreation Reserves if they meet the requirements in the Bylaw. If you are planning to fly in a Council Recreation Reserve and your Aircraft is 1.5kg or under you do not need to apply for consent provided you comply with the conditions set out in the Bylaw.

Aircraft of any weight must not be flown over any cemeteries and gravel reserves. Approval may be considered under special circumstances.

Aircraft are not allowed to be used within or crossing Council maintained public roadway areas without the prior written permission of the council.

If permission is given it will be subject to conditions we consider appropriate and will be issued for no other purpose than for the operator to fly their Aircraft  over identified Council land during the time period specified by the user in their application. In formulating those conditions, our focus will be on potential hazards and the preservation of the health and safety of users and the public at large during the operation of Aircraft on Council land. Selwyn District Council will not accept any liability for any action or inaction of the Aircraft operator causing loss, damage and/or injury.  

To apply for permission you must be 16 years or over, or be supervising someone under 16 operating an Aircraft or be of certain age as required by law for the operation of large aircraft. We will endeavour to process your request within three business days. Please note that further information may be required to enable us to process your application.

Apply Online

If you have any questions regarding the use of aircraft and the application process please contact us on