On 1 August 2023, the UK Government announced an “indefinite” extension to the recognition of CE marking for certain products placed on the market in Great Britain. Representing a significant development in the UK Government’s post-Brexit conformity marking plans, the deadline for transitioning to UKCA marking (which was due to take effect from 31 December 2024) has been lifted for products in scope of the announcement. Such products may instead continue to bear either CE marking or UKCA marking to demonstrate their compliance with GB product safety regulations.
The UK Government has stated that this development is intended to “provide businesses with flexibility and choice” and “prevent a cliff-edge moment” occurring when UKCA marking was due to become mandatory.
This announcement applies to all 18 product types that are regulated by the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), including toys, pyrotechnics, electromagnetic compatibility, radio equipment, PPE, gas appliances, machinery and aerosols (the full list of products is included in the announcement).
The announcement does not apply to any products outside the remit of the DBT, including (among others) medical devices, ecodesign, construction products, rail products, marine equipment and unmanned aircraft systems. The DBT has stated that the relevant government departments for such products “either have communicated, or will communicate, plans in due course”.
The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA), for example, has released a statement confirming that the announcement does not apply to medical devices or in-vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs). This follows the MHRA’s own announcement in April 2023 of an extension of time for the CE marking transitional arrangements, which confirmed that CE marking may be used until June 2028 or June 2030 depending on the medical device or IVD in question (the full details of the timelines, which have since been incorporated into the Medical Devices Regulations 2002, can be found in the MHRA standard here).
Points to watch
Further details and guidance are expected in due course following the DBT’s announcement (as is implementing legislation). It will be important to look out for any details regarding how the UK intends to proceed should UK and EU legislation diverge for any particular products – questions remain regarding the use of CE marking in those circumstances.
Businesses in sectors falling outside the scope of the CE marking extensions to date will also be looking on with interest for any further developments. It remains to be seen whether any equivalent announcements are planned for products in those sectors, but we can expect to see further calls from industry leaders for clarity and consistency regarding the UK’s approach to conformity marking.
Please get in touch with us if you would like to discuss what this latest announcement could mean for your business.