With swathes of the population now working or isolating at home, deliveries and delivery drivers are playing an essential part in keeping the economy going. So, can we use drones for safer, non-contact deliveries? It’s clear that the UK is currently lacking the appropriate infrastructure for this at the moment, but there is a huge amount of opportunities to grasp if we just give this technology a chance…

In 2018 PwC reported that there could be 76,000 drones flying in the UK airspace by 2030, ultimately creating a £42bn industry in the UK. If this is the case dramatic changes will be required to the infrastructure across the country. 2019 saw the start of this, with rooftops in London being snapped up for vertiports (the equivalent of heliports but for drones). London is thought to be potentially one of the largest markets for urban air mobility.

The British logistics company, SkyScape, clearly believes in this and has started to pave the way and purchase rights to rooftops in London to install launch pads in anticipation of the increase in airborne activity. British Land is not far behind and is also thinking about using rooftop space for drone deliveries. Whilst drones are more popularly known for deliveries of foods and medical supplies, predictions have been made that passenger carrying vehicles will follow suit. Uber is on board, with it seeking out collaborations with companies to identify landing spots ahead of international trials of the technology due to take place this year.

With technology evolving at lightning speeds the property sector will need to ensure that the correct infrastructure is in place to accommodate such changes. There is no doubt that 2020 will see an influx in property owners considering the potential of their rooftops and whether they have the correct access, planning permission and health and safety regulations in place and have complied with statutory rights of first refusal to accommodate these vertiports. These are all issues that will need addressing, so landlords that are keen to maximise their rooftop potential need to start thinking outside of the box to ensure that they cover off the multitude of legal and practical issues that undoubtedly exist.