Environment, Food and Rural Affairs CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by the British Standards Institution (BSI)

BSI is the UK’s National Standards Body and facilitates the development of national, European and International (ISO) Standards. BSI has a long history of developing standards to help organizations implement good practice and specifications for products to ensure consumer protection and provide assurance.

BSI is establishing a technical committee to national standards to aid the conservation the biodiversity of the UK through the planning and development process. The programme of work will support the aim of protecting the UK’s biodiversity outlined in the Natural Environment White Paper. The first standard to be produced by the technical committee will provide guidance on the quality of ecological information submitted with planning applications and enable planning authorities to make better informed decisions when considering these applications. The committee will also produce guidance which will translate the new high level National Planning Policy Framework objectives into robust local plan policies and practical approaches to development control on the ground.

The following organisations have committed to be on the committee: Defra, the Association of Local Government Ecologists (ALGE), Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM).

BSI Background

BSI is the UK’s National Standards Body, incorporated by Royal Charter and responsible independently for preparing British Standards and related publications. BSI has 110 years of experience in serving the interest of a wide range of stakeholders including government, business and society.

BSI presents the UK view on standards in Europe (to CEN and CENELEC) and internationally (to ISO and IEC). BSI has a globally recognized reputation for independence, integrity and innovation ensuring standards are useful, relevant and authoritative.

A BSI (as well as CEN/CENELEC, ISO/IEC) standard is a document defining best practice, established by consensus. Each standard is kept current through a process of maintenance and reviewed whereby it is updated, revised or withdrawn as necessary.

Standards are designed to set out clear and unambiguous provisions and objectives. Although standards are voluntary and separate from legal and regulatory systems, they can be used to support or complement legislation.

Standards are developed when there is a defined market need through consultation with stakeholders and a rigorous development process. National committee members represent their communities in order to develop standards and related documents by consensus. They include representatives from a range of bodies, including government, business, consumers, academic institutions, social interests, regulators and trade unions.

21 June 2011

Prepared 16th July 2012