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Government reveals plans to simplify move to UKCA mark

21 June, 2022

The UK Government has announced a series of changes intended to make it easier for British businesses to apply the new UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark for products placed on the market in England, Scotland and Wales.

The mark replaces the CE mark now that the UK has left the European Union and will be mandatory on certain products to indicate that they conform to British legislation and allows the UK to have control over its goods regulations and to maintain product standards. Originally, businesses would have had to start using the new mark at the end of 2021. But last September, the Government delayed its compulsory use until 1 January 2023.

The Government has now announced four measures to make it simpler for UK businesses to adopt the UKCA marking:
Cutting re-testing costs Any conformity assessment done by EU bodies before the end of 2022 may now be used as the basis for subsequent UKCA marking certification. Legislation for this will be introduced before the end of the year and will allow manufacturers to apply the UKCA mark without the need for re-testing.
Removing the need to re-test existing imported stock This will allow CE-marked products manufactured and imported into the UK by the end of 2022 to be sold without having to meet UKCA requirements. This will remove the current requirement to re-test and re-certify imported products.
Continuing to accept spare parts The UK will continue to accept spares onto the GB market that comply with the same requirements that were in place at the time the products or systems they were being used to repair, replace or maintain were placed on the market. This will help to address concerns about the availability of spare parts and avoid disruptions to businesses and organisations.
Extending labelling measures To make it cheaper and easier for businesses to continue to supply goods to Great Britain, legislation will be introduced to extend current labelling rules to allow important information and other UKCA markings to be added to products using a sticky label or an accompanying document, until 31 December 2025.

“We are delighted that the Government has listened to business and has announced easements for the introduction of the UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) mark,” says Stephen Phipson, CEO of the manufacturers’ body, Make UK. “Make UK has long called for this and the announcement is very welcome and will provide businesses with additional support through the transition to the UKCA.

“The delay also allows for continued investment in conformity assessment testing here in the UK which will be critical going forwards,” Phipson adds, “because businesses still face the unnecessary complexity of applying two systems of marking for products produced to the same rules and meeting the same safety requirements. This will continue to disadvantage businesses working in and supplying to the market in Great Britain, while providing no additional benefit or delivering any additional market advantage. This is why Make UK will continue to call for a more tailored approach and for CE-marked goods to be recognised on the market in Great Britain for as long as the rules in the UK have not diverged and remain the same.”

The British Chambers of Commerce has welcomed the Government’s announcement. “It’s good news that the UK Government has listened to business in providing these new easements to support cashflow and costs in these difficult economic times,” says the BCC’s head of trade policy, William Bain. “There will be relief on the pragmatic solution reached on spare parts and repairs.

The Government hopes that its new proposals will make it easier for UK businesses to adopt the UKCA mark

“Usage of EU certificates will cut duplicate testing costs, which firms could have faced early next year to place goods on the market in Great Britain,” he adds. “Those companies, which have the resources to do so, will also have the flexibility of importing CE-marked goods before the end of the year and placing these on the market in Great Britain without subsequent relabelling.

“After the end of 2022 however, firms will face significant new cost pressures from the introduction of the new markings system.,” Bain warns. “Uncertainties also still exist in terms of what will happen to markings in Northern Ireland. The current arrangements also suggest that CE-only marked goods, brought over from Northern Ireland, could continue to be placed on the market in Great Britain, whereas those from the rest of the world could not, beyond the end of 2025.

“There is some way to go before businesses will have complete assurance about the operation of the new markings systems.”

The government’s proposed UKCA changes were announced in a ministerial statement and are subject to secondary legislation and updated guidance. More information is available on the gov.uk Web site.




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