Brexit: UK influence over Euro standards in jeopardy

Testing luminaires to European standards at Martech in Dewsbury, Yorkshire. Pic: Clare Instruments

The UK lighting industry’s continued membership of key European standards bodies is in doubt after the country’s historic decision to depart from the European Union.

Crucially, as a full member of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), the UK can currently participate in the development and maintenance of voluntary industry standards. In the wake of Brexit, the continuation of this relationship is by no means assured and will depend on future negotiations between the UK and the EU.


Worringly, in an advisory statement issued by the British Standards Institution to its members, the organisation said that a contininuation of the country’s current relationship with CEN was only an ‘ambition’ at the current time. Scott Steedman, director of standards at the BSI, said that he intended to fight to ensure that the UK remained a paid up member of CEN.

‘It is the BSI’s ambition that the UK should continue to participate in the European Standardisation System as a full member of CEN, CENELEC and ETSI,’ Steedman said. ‘I will certainly do my best in the coming months to deliver this ambition, in the interests of UK industry, government and society.’

The BSI is currently working with the government to ensure that standards are included in the UK’s negotiating platform after Article 50 has been declared, notifying the EU of the UK’s intentions to leave.

If the negotiations were to fail then the UK would effectively find itself excluded from discussions over new standards that UK businesses would then have to abide by, in order to sell their products to the continent.


Members of the LIA were overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the European Union and 93 percent of the membership signalled their support for remaining in an online poll commissioned just before the referendum vote.

Steven Davies advises that a swift negotiation for withdrawal from the EU will be key to ensuring the lighting industry does not suffer any long-term damage.

‘We can use the renegotiation to benefit our position, but only if we move quickly. We have to do our best to take advantage of the situation and we can only do this if we move speedily. The current Westminster power vacuum is not encouraging.

‘How good or bad this situation ends up being for the industry will depend on how quickly the UK moves,’ Davies concluded.

As evidence of how high tensions are currently running post-Brexit, the BSI concluded its advice by asking members to report any negative comments that might be made towards UK standards committee chairpeople.


To learn more about standards and how they will be influenced by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union come to LUXLIVE 2016 where all these issues will be discussed. The event will take place on the 23rd to the 24th of November at the Excel Centre in London. To find out more please click here.