Drone owners could be required to complete a safety awareness test before flying, if proposed legislation is passed into law.

The UK Government is to propose the new drone legislation in the spring of 2018, and as well as pilots completing a safety test, the rules could see no-fly zones more widely enforced in sensitive locations like airports.

Safety tests could be required for pilots of drones weighing more than 250g. The most popular drones, such as the DJI Phantom range, weigh around four times this.

Another proposal would prevent drone owners from flying above 400 feet. Some consumer drones are capable of flying to altitudes of several thousand feet.

Police are also poised to gain powers enabling them to ground and seize drones they suspect have been used in a criminal activity. Some criminals have been known to use drones to deliver packages to prison inmates.

The proposed legislation comes as near-misses between drones and aircraft are on the up. There were 29 reported near-misses in 2015, 71 in 2016 and there have been 81 in 2017 so far, over a month before the end of the year.

As well as improving drone safety, the government wants to investigate regulating new uses for drones in 2018. These include using drones and their integrated video cameras on oil rigs, in construction, for organ transport and parcel deliveries.

Amazon has been working on a drone delivery service in rural Cambridgeshire for over a year, while blood transport via drone is currently being trialled in Switzerland.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of the pilot's union, told the BBC: "These proposals are a step towards the safe integration of drones, but until the new rules are in place the threat of a serious collision remains."