Railways: Land

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 28th May 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to implement further measures to prevent the use of postcode location centroids that are determined on private property.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

BEIS has responsibility for the Arms Length Bodies who collect, curate, and maintain the foundational data that underpins the use of post codes and addressing.

Ordnance Survey (working in a consortium of members including Royal Mail, Office for National Statistics, Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland, National Records of Scotland) publishes 1.7m centroids for postcodes across the UK.

The location of the postcode centroid is automatically generated by averaging more granular address data and 'snapping' to the nearest address – which includes residential properties – in order to ensure it sits on a building, rather than potentially in the middle of a road, a lake or a field. This was designed to support the primary use case for post code and address-based navigation (i.e. getting to the right approximate location). Ordnance Survey are currently exploring how they locate the centroid for postcodes in their Code Point products and would welcome engagement from any interested parties.

Ordnance Survey also publishes the location of every individual address in its AddressBase products, which is used by emergency services and delivery companies to navigate to the correct property more efficiently and effectively.

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