Re: Protecting commercial revenues.
This is more about protecting commercial revenues, setting a precedent for that (paid aerial drone photographs), than any real safety issue.
It's good to see how many people who actually fly are chipping in and making sensible comments here.
Oh, wait: I'm guessing the AC who started this thread isn't a pilot.
Every time something like this comes up, we get the same arguments... nothing happened so there was no issue, plod being plod, just let people do what they want, little thing like that couldn't hurt a nasty great steam engine, or a plane, blah, blah, blah...
Those rules are there for a reason. Safety - of the pilot in command, of other airspace users, and people and objects on the ground. In this case, there was no *direct* safety issue - but so what? It takes a moment's inattention in *any* aircraft to get into trouble; sometimes that trouble is painful, crippling, or fatal. It matters not one whit that "it's only a little thing, a couple of kilos or so"; trust me; meeting one of them mid-air will ruin your whole day. So will one falling on your head, or coming through your window.
Sure, most of the rules are just common sense: keep your distance from people and things. Drive on the right if you're following a feature like a road or railway. Maintain your altitude. Keep a good lookout for other stuff in your airspace. Turn right to avoid a collision. Doesn't mean that's a reason to scorn them...
Non-commercial pilots from model planes through foot-launched to GA stuff are exempted from the majority of the provisions of the ANO, but as soon as you decide to operate commercially, then the appropriate considerations apply. Airspace in general, and UK airspace in particular, is complex and busy. A glance at an air map will show you that; on the south-east UK map, somewhat under half the surface is class G. The rest of it - you can't fly there without making the appropriate arrangements. Do you know where they are? If not, why not?
My friend: if you're going to be sharing airspace with me, I want to be bloody certain that you both know and follow the rules. Because flying is fun, but also highly risky.