5 July 2022
The UK Government recently announced changes that will make it easier for businesses to adapt to the introduction of the UKCA marking, the new regime, which has replaced the European Union's CE marking system in Great Britain following Brexit. The UKCA marking will work in a very similar way to the CE marking, however manufacturers will now need to go through a UK conformity assessment procedure, assessing whether their product complies with all applicable UK product safety regulations and standards, and then drawing up a declaration of conformity and affixing the UKCA mark to confirm that this is the case.
For products subject to the self-declaration procedure, i.e. where the manufacturer can complete the conformity assessment itself, the UKCA mark will become mandatory in England, Wales and Scotland (ie Great Britain (GB)) on 1 January 2023, and will replace the CE marking. Up until this date, it will be acceptable for products on the UK market to display the CE marking. Under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland will continue to use the EU's CE marking for products entering its market, although products entering the Northern Ireland market which have undergone a third party conformity assessment procedure in the UK will need to display the separate UKNI marking.
The new UKCA marking measures mainly reduce the need to retest and recertify products that were compliant with the product safety requirements that existed in the UK before the UKCA regime is made mandatory, and lengthen the transitional period for requiring new information to be indelibly displayed on a product.
Manufacturers will be able to apply the UKCA mark to products that were conformity assessed by EU bodies before the end of 2022. This means that if a product has gone through the EU conformity assessment process but has not yet been placed on the GB market, it can be affixed with the UKCA marking when being placed on the GB market. This reflects the fact that the substantive product safety standards are yet to change in the UK post Brexit. This will eliminate the need to re-test these products which have already completed the conformity assessment procedure in the EU before placing them on the GB market.
Manufacturers will be allowed to sell CE marked products that were imported into the UK before the end of 2022, without requiring them to display the UKCA marking . This will reduce the costs of retesting and recertifying products that were imported whilst the UK still recognised the CE marking.
The UK will continue to accept spare parts which comply with the requirements that were in place at the time that the original products, i.e. those requiring the spare part, were placed on the market. It is hoped that this will reduce disruption to businesses. For example, a CE marked spare part for a machine which has already been placed on the UK market will still be accepted.
The deadline for requiring the UKCA marking and importer information to be indelibly displayed on products, as opposed being displayed on accompanying documentation, has been pushed back by two years from 1 January 2024 to 1 January 2026.
Until 31 December 2025, manufacturers will be allowed place the UKCA marking on a sticker label affixed to the product or the packaging, rather than the product itself. From 1 January 2026, however, this information must be indelibly displayed on the product itself.
Please contact our product liability and safety team for further information.
by multiple authors
by multiple authors