Critial National
infrastructure group

Operating drones in or around live critical infrastructure, such has rail, roads or powerlines, is fraught with legal and safety issues. At the same time the potential value of drones at every stage of construction, operation and maintenance is huge.

Paul Lindup

The COMIT2Drones Critical National Infrastructure Group exists to accelerate the safe adoption of drone technology in the infrastructure industry. It aims to improve interoperability and knowledge sharing between stake-holders and to help ensure a unified approach between the DfT and CAA with regards to the development of UAS regulations.

The group members are COMIT2Drones, National Highways, National Grid, HS2 and Network Rail. The group is chaired by Paul Lindup, who is the Chief UAV pilot for Jacobs. Paul also runs his own drone-based aerial photography business and has extensive experience in the use of aerial surveillance in military, police and civilian contexts.


Critical National Infrastructure Guidance Notes for Third Party Drone Operations If you have a requirement to fly near to any Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), for example National Highways, National Grid, Network Rail, HS2 or HS1 infrastructure, please note what they collectively advise as good practice.  There are two main risks:
  • Your aircraft will distract drivers on roads and workers on track or worksites
  • Your command and control may be subject to radio interference from the infrastructure
By maintaining a safe distance of 50 metres you reduce the risk of both distraction and interference.

National Highways

National Highways is the government company which plans, designs, builds, operates and maintains England’s motorways and major A roads.

Road users can easily be distracted by your aircraft. They are uninvolved people and must be considered when operating near carriageways. A 50m separation distance from vehicles helps to mitigate the risks around driver distraction. 

You can visit Using Drones for more information, including details of roads National Highways are responsible for and liaise with them via .

National Grid

National grid infrastructure requires a minimum safe distance of 15 metres at all times due to the risk of arcing.  National Grid operate a manned and un-manned inspection regime. 

Liaise with Mark Simmons at .

HS2 and HS1/Eurostar

HS2 is still a working site which involves UAS capture at most locations. There are large numbers of employees working with plant vehicles – do not distract them with your aircraft.

HS1/Eurostar is a separate piece of infrastructure that is managed by NR/HS1 and operates trains at much higher speeds than traditional rail. This increases the vortices around the moving trains.