The UK government has extended the deadline by when businesses need to use the UKCA mark. For many products the CE marking and reversed epsilon marking may be used on the GB market until 31 December 2024 (rather than 31 December 2023 as was previously advised by government).
The labelling easement has also been extended until 31 December 2027 (previously 2025). The government intends to introduce legislation enabling the UKCA marking to be placed on a label affixed to the product (rather than affixed to the product itself) or on a document accompanying the product until 31 December 2027.
The legislation to implement these changes was laid before the Houses of Parliament on 14 November 2022 and is expected to come into force on 31 December 2022.
The UKCA marking was introduced as part of the UK’s own product regulatory framework following withdrawal from the European Union. It is intended to replace the CE marking and reversed epsilon marking on the GB market, demonstrating product compliance for the GB market. The original intention was that businesses would be required to use the UKCA marking by 31 December 2021. However, on 24 August 2021, the UK government announced an extra year to start using the UKCA marking. This has now been extended once again to 31 December 2024.
The anticipated law
The legislation is expected to come into force on 31 December 2022, without further changes, and provides for three key updates:
Continued recognition of CE marking and reverse epsilon marking until 31 December 2024;
Continuing to allow businesses to affix the UKCA marking, and include importer information for products from the EAA on accompanying documentation or labels, until 31 December 2027; and
Reductions to re-testing costs for UKCA certification by allowing conformity assessment activities for CE marking undertaken by 31 December 2024 to be used by manufacturers as the basis for the UKCA marking, until the expiry of the certificate or until 31 December 2027, whichever is sooner.
The UK guidance has been updated to reflect these relaxations and can be found here. It is important to note that that there are different sector specific rules for medical devices, construction products, cableways, transportable pressure equipment, unmanned aircraft systems, rail products, and marine equipment.
Product specific legislation should always be consulted as different rules apply for each product category. Companies are also reminded that while cosmetic products do not require the CE marking, these extensions are applicable for cosmetic aerosols, in which the reverse epsilon is to be replaced by the UKCA mark.
For those able to take advantage of the further extensions the new timelines should be noted. However, the use of the CE marking for any product is only to the extent that the requirements in GB and the EU are not inconsistent. In the event that divergence appears and is not simply a more stringent requirement in the EU, this extension will no longer be applicable.
Article co-authored by Alexandra Brown, Trainee Solicitor at CMS.