Standards policy on the UK leaving the EU

Following the result of the UK referendum and changes in government, BSI as the UK National Standards Body has been working with our stakeholders to communicate the key messages about the vital role of standards in supporting trade, growth and productivity. The expected triggering of Article 50 by early 2017 will start a transition period lasting some years while the UK government negotiates the arrangements for its withdrawal from the EU and its future terms of trade with Europe and the rest of the world.  Below is an explanation of how this affects the different roles of the National Standards Body:

National level

BSI will continue to develop and publish British Standards. No changes are anticipated to our activity in this area.

European level

BSI maintains the UK membership of the three European standardization organizations: CEN, CENELEC and ETSI.  Our membership of these organizations continues as normal; it is ‘business as usual’ in all aspects of our standards making and publishing activity.

CEN and CENELEC are private organizations outside the EU coordinating the work of 33 countries in the making and dissemination of European Standards (EN). Membership of CEN and CENELEC is linked to the adoption of European Standards and the withdrawal of conflicting national standards, facilitating market access across the member countries.

Over the coming months and during the transition period that will follow the triggering of Article 50, we will be working with UK government (e.g. the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Exiting the European Union and the Department for International Trade) and other parties as appropriate, such as the European institutions, CEN and CENELEC regarding our role in the development of European standards. 

It is BSI’s ambition on behalf of UK stakeholders for the UK to continue to participate in the European standards system as a full member of CEN and CENELEC post-‘Brexit’.  This would bring maximum benefit to the UK economy and society in its new status outside the EU, as reciprocity of market access with European countries and the maintenance of a unified domestic market structure across the UK facilitates trade and reduces complexity for SMEs and consumers, ultimately saving time, money and effort while ensuring product quality and safety.

International level

Our membership of the two international standardization organizations, ISO and IEC, will be unaffected by a UK exit from the EU.  BSI is committed to representing the UK’s interests in the creation of international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. 

Please send any questions on the impact of BREXIT on BSI’s membership of the European standards system to our team at


BSI held a live webinar on 8 July 2016 discussing the UK’s future role in developing European standards.  Key points covered include:

-       BSI’s role and the European standards system,

-       What might Brexit mean for standards in the UK,

-       BSI’s ambitions with regard to the European standards system,

-       What BSI is doing to support UK government, industry and society.

Participants in the webinar were: Dr Scott Steedman CBE, Director of Standards; David Bell, Director of Standards Policy (webinar chair); Richard Collin, National and European Policy Manager.