Deadline for CE/UKCA marking transition extended
CE marking is due to be replaced in Great Britain by UKCA marking. However, the deadline for this has recently been extended. Jonathan Teale takes a look at the change to the UKCA mark and its recently announced delay.
Manufacturers, importers and distributors of certain types of products across the EU are required to ensure that those products have been conformity assessed and CE marked before those products are placed on the market. Until 1st January 2021 the same requirements applied to manufacturers, importers and distributors (collectively referred to as ‘economic operators’) in the UK.
Of course, the UK left the EU on 1st January 2021. On that same date a new product conformity mark – the UKCA mark – was introduced into Great Britain. However, in order to avoid sudden change for businesses, a transition period of 12 months was provided during which time economic operators in Great Britain could choose to use either the new UKCA mark, or the CE mark, or both. From 1st January 2022, economic operators placing relevant products on the market in Great Britain for the first time would be required to ensure that those products were UKCA marked.
The Government has recently announced that this transition period is to be extended to 1st January 2023. This means that economic operators can continue to place CE marked goods on the GB market until 1st January 2023, after which date goods newly placed on the market will need to be UKCA marked. Government guidance concerning this can be seen here.
Why does the Legislation Update Service continue to refer to the 2022 deadline?
If your health and safety register includes entries for any of the product safety regulations as they apply in Great Britain, you will see that they still refer to the deadline of 1st January 2022, not 2023. This is because the legislation in place currently still provides the 1st January 2022 deadline. We expect the government will issue new amendment regulations to extend this to 1st January 2023, but at time of going to press they have not yet done so. As soon as the amendment regulations are passed, we will update the relevant entries in your registers. Until that time, the Legislation Update Service entries reflect the law as it currently stands.
Application in Northern Ireland
UKCA marking is not applicable in Northern Ireland. Under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland continues to implement EU rules. Consequently, goods placed on the market in Northern Ireland will continue to be CE marked. If the conformity assessment is completed by a UK based assessment body, a UK(NI) mark is placed on the goods in addition to the CE mark. The UK(NI) mark is not, however, a Northern Ireland equivalent of the UKCA mark.
Readers will be aware that the UK government continues to indicate dissatisfaction with the Northern Ireland Protocol. If any legal changes are made to the requirements arising from the Protocol, they will be reported in Legislation Update Service.
When are goods first ‘placed on the market’?
The requirement for economic operators to conformity mark goods applies when the goods are first ‘placed on the market’. We won’t go into the technical legal definition of ‘placed on the market’ but in summary it means when the goods are first transferred or sold. Note that the requirement only applies when the goods are first placed on the market – it does not apply each and every subsequent time the goods are sold on. Consequently, goods which have already been ‘placed on the market’ prior to 1st January 2022 (or 2023 following the extension) would not need to be re-marked with the UKCA mark after that date. A retailer with a warehouse full of CE marked goods which were bought before 1st January 2022 would not need to re-mark those goods with the UKCA mark after 1st January 2022, so long as the retailer has evidence that they acquired the goods before that date.
In conclusion, here are the key points:
- Goods first placed on the market in Great Britain after 1st January 2021 can either be CE marked, or UKCA marked.
- Currently, the relevant product safety regulations state that goods first placed on the market in Great Britain after 1st January 2022 must be UKCA marked.
- However, government guidance now indicates that this deadline has been extended to 1st January 2023.
- Despite the government guidance, the relevant regulations have not yet been amended. Until the regulations are amended, Legislation Update Service entries will continue to show the deadline of 1st January 2022.
- Be aware that the requirements in Northern Ireland are different. CE marking continues to be required and there is (currently) no deadline for phasing this out.
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