BSI pledges ‘business as usual’ post referendum

National standards body BSI says it is pushing for the role of standards in the single market to be included in the negotiations with the EU following the referendum result.

In a statement emailed to committee members, Scott Steedman, director of standards at BSI, said it was already working with the government on this, and was confident that a UK exit from the EU would not affect BSI’s membership of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). 

A spokeswoman for BSI confirmed the organisation had already spoken to officials at the business department (BIS) and the communities department (DCLG), and would engage with other departments and devolved administrations over the negotiation period.

UK participation in the development and maintenance of voluntary industry standards by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) for use across the European single market is an essential element of the UK’s relationship with Europe, according to Steedman.

‘The CEN and CENELEC single standard model, with identical adoption of European standards across 33 countries and the withdrawal of conflicting national standards, facilitates market access and simplifies the market structure across Europe,’ he wrote. 

‘For those of you involved in work with CEN and CENELEC, I would encourage you to continue as before, your commitment will help BSI in its role as the national standards body to demonstrate UK commitment to a close future trading relationship with our European partners,’ he added.

Steedman asked committee members to keep BSI informed of any issues that arise, such as negative comment against UK members in respect of their European committee work. A spokeswoman said that the organisation had not heard of any such comments yet, but added: ‘We will deal robustly with any attempts to undermine British input on their standards committees'.

CEN’s current membership includes countries that are not part of the EU, such as Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. 

Martin Baxter, chief policy advisor at IEMA said: ‘Standards are one route through by which companies can demonstrate that their products meet the requirements of the European single market. It will be interesting to see if the UK will still be able to engage in the development of European standards,’ he said.


Catherine Early is a freelance journalist.

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