The UK government has announced plans to extend recognition of the CE marking ‘indefinitely’ beyond the upcoming deadline of 31 December 2024 for certain products placed on the Great Britain (GB) market, leading to uncertainty over the future of the UKCA marking.
What is the UKCA marking?
The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking is the UK product conformity marking used for certain goods that are placed on the GB market, covering most goods which previously required the EU CE marking. The conformity markings indicate conformity with the applicable product health, safety and environmental requirements for products sold on the respective markets.
The deadline for businesses to use the UKCA marking was due to end (following a series of extensions) on 31 December 2024. After this deadline, the EU CE marking would no longer be recognised on the GB market.
What is changing?
On 1 August 2023, following calls from industry, the Government has stated that it intends to extend recognition of the CE marking for placing most goods on the market in GB, indefinitely, beyond December 2024.
It is important to note that this update applies to the regulations that fall under the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), which are:
- recreational craft and personal watercraft
- simple pressure vessels
- electromagnetic compatibility
- non-automatic weighing instruments
- measuring instruments
- measuring container bottles
- equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX)
- radio equipment
- pressure equipment
- personal protective equipment (PPE)
- gas appliances
- equipment for use outdoors
- low voltage electrical equipment
There are different rules for other goods (including medical devices, construction products, transportable pressure equipment, rail products, marine equipment and ecodesign) and it is expected that the relevant departments covering these sectors will communicate their plans in due course. We will have to await developments but it seems the chances are that a similar approach may be adopted.
What does this mean?
The extension means that businesses will be able to continue to use the CE marking to place products on the GB market post 31 December 2024.
However, there are many unanswered questions following the extension announcement. It is not yet clear whether businesses will be required to choose between the CE or UKCA marking for the GB market - naturally, if your business sells products on both the EU and GB markets, the CE marking (being recognised on both markets), would seem the obvious choice!
It is also not clear what will happen if there is divergence between UK and EU product safety rules. The continued recognition of CE marking in GB can only work effectively if the UK does not deviate from the EU product safety rules.
We will continue to monitor the position and are anticipating further updates and guidance on how the proposed changes will be implemented. We anticipate the legislation effecting the change will be published later this year.