Today, I am updating Parliament on developments to the government’s approach to the UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) product marking and plans to continue recognition of ‘conformité européenne’ (CE) beyond 31 December 2024. The government intends to lay legislation in Spring to provide businesses with the flexibility to place goods that fall under 21 product regulations and meet current EU requirements on the market in Great Britain. Later in the year, the government also intends to introduce greater labelling flexibility, including the option for manufacturers to use digital labelling. This forms part of the government's smarter regulation programme of regulatory reform, designed to improve regulation across the board, ensuring it is effective and only used where necessary and proportionate.
I announced in August 2023 that the government plans to extend CE recognition indefinitely for the product regulations managed by the Department for Business and Trade. Since then, we have continued to engage with industry. We have listened to businesses - both in the UK and those who supply the UK from abroad, and we are taking further action. I am today announcing that the government intends to lay legislation, this Spring, using powers under the Retained EU Law Act (2023). This legislation will support economic growth and provide businesses with greater flexibility to continue to place products on the market in Great Britain using either CE or UKCA Marking after 31 December 2024. In Northern Ireland, the CE mark is and will remain recognised, pursuant to the Windsor Framework.
The continued recognition of current EU requirements, including the CE and reversed epsilon markings, will apply to 21 product regulations, including the 18 product regulations owned by the Department of Business and Trade, previously announced on 1 August 2023. Following feedback from industry, we are also continuing CE recognition for a further three regulation, which will now include the Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products 2010 Regulations (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero), the Explosives Regulations 2014 (Department for Work and Pensions (Health and Safety Executive)), and the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012 (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs).
The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012, is included within this announcement, however, we are taking a two-part approach given the role of exemptions in these Regulations. Where products meet the maximum concentration values set out in Annex II to the EU RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU), we will continue to recognise current EU regulations and CE marking. Where a product relies on an exemption, we will also continue to recognise current EU regulations and CE marking, provided there is an equivalent exemption under the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012.
The UK government will also introduce new measures to introduce a ‘Fast track UKCA’ process, allowing manufacturers to use the UKCA marking to demonstrate compliance, in Great Britain, with either UKCA product requirements or EU product requirements where they are recognised. Where products are covered by multiple regulations, a mixture of both UKCA and CE conformity assessment procedures can be used. This is designed to provide longer term certainty and flexibility for businesses if the UK mandates UKCA marking for certain regulations in the future.
The government also recognises the important role UK Conformity Assessment Bodies play in ensuring the compliance of goods to UKCA requirements and their role in supporting innovation. We will continue to work with the UK Accreditation Service and industry to monitor capacity of the conformity assessment market.
In response to feedback from businesses through engagement and the Product Safety Review consultation, the Government also intends to provide for permanent labelling flexibility to enable importers of goods from the EU and the rest of the world to supply their details indelibly, on an accompanying document, the packaging or on an adhesive label. The government will also introduce the option for manufacturers to use digital labelling. Businesses will be able to include the UKCA marking, manufacturer details, importer details and the declaration of conformity via, for example, a QR code attached to the product via a label. In scanning the code the information can be accessed by a website or app. We will set out further details in due course.
The government is taking a tailored approach to support the interests of British businesses and ensure consumers are protected, taking account of the specialist nature of each regulation. This means not all product regulations covered by the CE or UKCA regime will be included in this legislation. Separate approaches apply to products covered by: the Medical Devices Regulations, the Construction Products Regulations, the Cableway Installations Regulations, the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment (Amendment) Regulations, the Railways (Interoperability) Regulations, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Regulations, and the Merchant Shipping (Marine Equipment) Regulations.
The UK government will continue to monitor any regulatory changes the EU may make in future, and we will continue to work with industry to ensure UK regulatory policy reflects the interests of British businesses and consumers. We recognise the importance of being able to mandate UKCA marking, and we may choose to do this in the future for certain regulations where this is in the interests of British businesses, consumer safety, or environmental protection.
This announcement is in line with the REUL Act Report published [Monday 22 January 2024] which outlines the progress the Government has made in reforming and revoking retained EU over the last six months.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords