Skip to main content


New RISQS assurance code for drone operators

Companies wanting to use drones on or near Network Rail or TfL infrastructure can now access guidance and apply to be formally qualified as suppliers via RISQS.

Drones, otherwise known as ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ (UAVs), are now much more readily available, and are used widely by many industries.  They are also proving useful in viewing rail infrastructure before and after work is completed, and can reduce risk by avoiding the need to put staff in hazardous environments to inspect assets.

However, drones can bring risks of their own and operators need to be aware of the Civil Aviation Authority instruction to keep 50 metres clear of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure which isn’t in the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.    On the railway this includes all Network Rail assets and structures up to and including the railway boundary.

RISQS has been working closely with Network Rail and TfL on how to control these risks within the supply chain. 

Drone operators needing to fly closer than the 50 metre CAA limit need to be on Network Rail’s authorised UAV framework, and show that they understand the regulations, have the necessary licences, training and processes in place are permitted to operate UAVs near the railway infrastructure. 

RISQS has also provided a new product code and guidance to suppliers for drone operation on or near railway infrastructure, and all companies wishing to operate UAVs near railway infrastructure will be required to hold this code in addition to any code associated with the task that the UAV will be used for.

The new product code for drone operation, which companies must register for and qualify via audit is called:

Provision of a service using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) otherwise known as drones -  product code number 04.88.01.

If you need any assistance around this new product code please contact the RISQS support team who will do everything they can to help.

About the author


Keep up with the industry

Sign up to the RISQS mailing list for the latest rail industry news and member updates.