Ambitious programme set out in Queen's Speech

Securing the UK's departure from the EU on 31st October is the government's priority and was top of agenda in the Queen's Speech today, delivered for the first time in over two years at the formal reopening of the new parliamentary session.

"My government's priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union on October 31st," she said. "My government intends to work towards a new partnership with the European Union, based on free trade and friendly cooperation."

She went on to set out new legislation that will end freedom of movement for EU citizens after Brexit, detailing a new points-based system that will be in place by 2021.

The speech contained 26 bills, pledging action on the environment and health and on law and order. It included plans for new regimes for fisheries and agriculture, as well as new laws to protect Britain's financial and legal services sectors.

Of particular note was the introduction of an aviation bill designed to provide for the effective and efficient management of airspace and UAVs. Welcoming the news, associate solicitor at Kennedys, Stuart Farlow said: “Taking into account the number of reported near misses between unmanned aircraft and commercial airliners, coupled with both Heathrow and Gatwick suffering temporary closures in the last 12 months due to drone sightings, any increase in police powers to tackle the unlawful use of unmanned aircraft has to be welcomed.

“Modernisation of UK airspace management will be an essential enabler for the continued development of the UK commercial drone industry, particularly for drones flying beyond visual line of sight. The effective integration of manned and unmanned aircraft in UK airspace, with all aircraft able to detect each other and, if necessary, take avoiding action, will improve safety and encourage the drone industry to continue the growth it has enjoyed in recent years in the UK. Care must be taken, however, to fully understand the impact of any changes upon other airspace users, such as the general aviation sector – operators of light aircraft and helicopters may be reluctant to implement expensive hardware upgrades intended to facilitate the wider use of drones in UK airspace.”

And on the introduction of the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill, the law firm's Paula Margolis warned insurers and manufacturers to carefully evaluate the risks that changes will bring.

"After years of following European regimes, the proposed changes will take time to realise and implement and, as is recognised by the MHRA in their published ‘no deal’ guidance, we’re still likely to have to align ourselves with EU safety standards so that the UK’s output can be adopted in other countries. Insurers and manufacturers will need to carefully evaluate the risks any changes will bring," she said.

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