The European regulatory infrastructure depends on measurements and tests which are reliable and trusted internationally and which do not form a barrier to trade. The need for a level playing field in measurement is not limited to trade, as competitiveness may also be affected. For example, in areas such as environmental regulations, variations in measurements practice can significantly affect the cost of compliance. At present there is insufficient awareness of measurement issues (notably the impact of traceable measurement and testing capabilities) on assessments of compliance. The approach by the regulatory community in Europe and the EU Accession States tends to differ based on historical practice. Equally, development of national measurement capability takes insufficient account of detailed regulatory requirements.
The project aims to:
- identify more precisely the metrological needs of regulatory bodies within the EU
- promote an appropriate approach to metrology policy and implementation by regulators
- establish networking arrangements to improve the working of the current systems
- promote, as far as practical, a harmonised approach by the regulators to metrological issues taking into account differing sectoral needs within Europe
- provide access to the results from outside the EU, including the accession states.
Final report 2004-05-07
The project aimed to improve the effectiveness of the European regulatory infrastructure concerning measurement aspects of regulations. The principle aims were to:
Promote a greater understanding of metrological issues and utilisation of the metrological, accreditation and conformity assessment infrastructure amongst regulators
Promote a systematic harmonised best practice approach by regulators to metrology policy and implementation
Identify more precisely the metrological needs of regulatory bodies within the EU, including enhancing the on-going capture of future regulatory measurement needs
Intense dialogue was undertaken with over 100 regulators plus other related organisations within Europe, aimed at developing an understanding of the regulatory process, how measurement aspects are dealt with during formulation and enforcement of regulations and any mechanisms regulators have for ensuring that their future measurement needs are addressed. The project highlighted a significant disparity in the level of metrological awareness, both between and within individual sectors and bodies, often with little horizontal interaction within a sector. Sectoral analysis was undertaken for eight sectors and reports are available. Some sectors, for example environment, are already heavily influenced by regulation at a European level, whilst for others regulation is still predominantly driven nationally. Examples of collaboration between member countries on the development of best practice schemes were identified within the project.
Partly due to the fragmentation, many regulators have no overall common approach to metrology and measurement, validating the value of this project. Broadly they welcomed a process improving the links between the metrological infrastructure and their area of regulation together with the provision of guidance on a robust approach to measurement issues. Following analysis of the findings during the first half of the project, the concept of the ‘template for measurement’ was formulated. The development of a broad metrological template, which could be used by regulators when considering measurement issues during the entire regulatory lifecycle, was seen as beneficial and was pursued within the project, in consultation with the EC DGs Enterprise, Trade and Environment. The UK National Measurement Systems Directorate is supporting further development of the template.
Dissemination formed an important aspect of the project and two workshops on ’Metrology for Regulation and Trade’, held in May 2002 and September 2003, provided a forum to foster dialogue between the metrology community and regulatory and trade stakeholders and attracted delegates from thirteen countries including South America and South Africa. Proceedings from the workshops are available on the project website www.RegMet.dk. A second edition of the booklet Metrology-in short was also produced.
The RegMet project has identified measurement related issues and challenges faced by regulators, identified examples of existing best practice and developed guidance and recommendations. All reports, the ‘template for measurement’, papers and workshop proceedings will be available on the project website and on the EUROMET website.
Ref. No. of proposal: G7RT-CT2000-05005.