Drone owners will be ordered to register and sit safety tests under clampdown on devices

Drone users will be required to register with authorities and sit safety awareness tests under a clampdown on the flying devices.

A new draft law will also see police given greater powers to order users to ground their drones or seize parts of the machines as evidence.

It comes amid growing concern over the safety of the devices - including incidents where they are said to have threatened aircraft.

The draft Drone Bill, which will be published in spring 2018, could create no-fly zones for the devices around airports or at heights above 400 feet.

Under the new proposals drone operators will be required to use apps - so they can access the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally.

Changes to the Air Navigation Order will be used to introduce the safety test and the registration requirement for owners of drones weighing more than 250 grams.

Work is also taking place to create virtual barriers foe drones. Credit: AP

Alongside the new regulation, the Government is also working with drone manufacturers on geofencing technology which produces virtual barriers preventing the machines from operating in restricted areas.

Last month it emerged a drone nearly hit an aircraft approaching London Gatwick, with the jet's pilot claiming it put 130 lives at risk.

The gadget passed directly over the right wing of the Airbus A319 which was preparing to land at the West Sussex airport in July, according to the UK Airprox Board (UKAB).

Pilots' union Balpa has campaigned for tighter restriction because of concerns about the danger drones can pose to flights.

The union's general secretary, Brian Strutton, said there had been a sharp rise in reported "near misses", with 81 incidents already notified this year - up from 71 in 2016 and 29 in 2015.

He said the proposed new laws were "a step towards the safe integration of drones" but urged for them to be implemented faster.

Dozens of 'near misses' between drones and planes are reported every year. Credit: PA

Civil Aviation Authority policy director Tim Johnson also welcomed the new regulations.

"Drones can bring economic and workplace safety benefits but to achieve those we need everyone flying a drone now to do so safely," he said.

"We welcome plans to increase drone operator training, safety awareness and the creation of no-fly zones.

"We have been working with Government and the aviation and drone industries to educate drone operators by successfully promoting the Dronecode, which provides an easy to follow guide to UK drone rules."