‘Keep drones away from power lines’

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NIE Networks has issued a safety warning to anyone flying drones to stay well away from power lines and substations.

The warning follows a rise in popularity of drones and quadcopters as Christmas presents.

NIE Networks has said these aircraft could cause damage to the network if they crash into equipment.

Some of the drones being unwrapped on Christmas Day can reach heights of more than 2,000 feet.

Recreational owners mainly use them for flying as a hobby or taking aerial images and footage.

Alex Wallace, NIE Networks Safety Officer, says planning a safe flight route should be a priority. “We have had incidents in the past where model aircraft and drones have come into contact with the network, causing power cuts.

“The new drones and quadcopters are very powerful and can fly at great speeds and heights.

The range is such that they can be difficult to see, especially on duller or rainy days.

“If one of these drones was to strike an overhead power line or crash into a substation, it could cause major equipment damage and also injure those on the ground.

If you get a drone for Christmas, we want you to enjoy it safely, so fly it where there is no risk of hitting overhead power lines or substations.

“If you do lose control of your aircraft and it falls into a substation or brings down an overhead power line, stay well away and contact NIE Networks immediately on 03457 643 643. It’s not worth the risk to try to retrieve it yourself.”

For more information about staying safe, visit nienetworks.co.uk or contact us on 03457 643 643.