Government and policy

About BGS

As a world-leading geoscience organisation, we provide independent and authoritative advice to the UK Government and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our geoscience data, information, knowledge and expertise support evidence-based policy development and decision making across the UK public sector.

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BGS data, information, knowledge and expertise support evidence-based policy development and decision-making across the UK public sector. Image: © Ana Gic / Pixabay

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We work in a wide variety of ways with departments in central and the devolved governments. We advise and partner with national regulators and statutory bodies and interact with local authorities across the UK. Where appropriate, we also provide advice and information to our elected representatives and their committees, at all levels of government.

Our interaction with the UK policy community occurs at different levels, on different topics over different timescales. For example:

  • as previous members of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE), BGS scientists provide expert and timely advice during national emergencies
  • we provide impartial technical information and expertise to inform debate and decisions in spatial planning for the sustainable management of energy, water, minerals and waste
  • we contribute to understanding of national risk through our long-term monitoring of earthquakes, groundwater and material security of supply
  • Emergency response
  • Ad hoc briefings
  • Membership of working groups and committees
  • Consultation responses
  • Science briefing papers on policy relevant topics
  • Factsheets and technical guidance
  • Commissioned work
  • Secondments and placements

The Geospatial Commission (GC) is an expert committee established to maximise accessibility to geospatial data. The GC has a close relationship with six core partner bodies: the BGS is one of these, along with the Coal Authority, HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, UK Hydrographic Office and the Valuation Office Agency. We work with the GC to improve the quality of key, publicly held data along with making it easier to access and use.

The BGS has corporate policy positions on a range of geoscience topics. The science briefing papers allow BGS scientists to reflect and communicate their science in a succinct way to other experts, policymakers and the public.

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