New drone regulations have come into force in the UK ahead of Europe adopting the measures on January 1.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published the rules which are expected to increase the number of drone users after the distinction between recreational and commercial applications was removed.

The regulations, which come into force from December 31, group drones into risk categories of high, medium and low, with all required to be registered with the CAA.

Low-risk drones will have operational limitations but will not need authorisation for flights.

Authorisation will be needed for medium-risk drones depending on a risk assessment, while high-risk craft will have to observe aviation rules.

The guidance mirrors that of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which from January 1 will unite drone rules across the EU, Norway and Iceland.