Brexit Impact to Conformity Assessment
Marking Requirements for the UK
23 February 2021
The UK left the EU single market at the end of 2020, creating new economic markets, each with its own regulatory framework that will have an impact on product conformity assessment, product marking, and market access requirements. The UK government adopted existing EU directives and regulations, forming the basis of the new UK regulatory framework for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in place as of January.
The UK's adopted regulations include ATEX, the Gas Appliance Regulation, the Radio Equipment Directive, Machinery Directive, Toys Directive, Boiler Efficiency Directive, and the Outdoor Noise Directive. They have also assumed regulations related to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), life safety and security, construction/building products, and personal protective equipment (PPE). When adopting these regulations, the UK government did not change the technical content, which will ensure a smooth transition. Products placed on the UK market will now require UKCA or marking (or, in the case of Northern Ireland CE/UKNI marking). Products placed on the EU market will continue to require CE marking. Marking must be handled by an approved Notified Body.
The UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark is the new product mark for certain goods place on the market in England, Wales, and Scotland, and covers most goods that previously required CE marking. UKCA marking is in effect as of January of 2021, with a transition period accepting CE marking until January 2022. In some circumstances, UKCA marking is required immediately for certain goods, such as newly designed products yet to be placed on the market. Those products will require CE marking for the EU. Until 2023, goods must affix the UKCA on a label, to the product or an accompanying product. After the first of January in that year, UKCA marking must be affixed directly to the products.
UKCA marking can only be placed on a product by either the manufacturer or an authorized representative, where specified by legislation. The manufacturer takes full responsibility for the product's conformity with requirements of the relevant legislation. UKCA marking only illustrates compliance with UK legislation. Markings that may misconstrue the meaning or form of the UKCA marking cannot be used. The mark's proportions cannot be changed, and it must be at least 5mm in height. It must be easily visible, legible, and, as of 2023, permanent.
It is important to note that the EU will not recognize UKCA marking. Products can be marked with both CE and UKCA markings, provided that are fully compliant with applicable regulations, and so long as neither impedes the visibility of the other. Products currently manufactured to the technical requirements for CE marking will be eligible for UKCA marking. Manufacturers should work with their certification partner to have the products marked for both certification schemes.
In Northern Ireland, the CE mark will be accepted the product they come from a EU conformity assessment body. Manufactured goods placed on the market using a UK-based body can be marked CE and UKNI. The UKNI mark must accompany another conformity mark and can never appear on a product alone and should only appear on products with specific legislation requiring it. It must be applied to the product itself or the packaging, with the possibility to feature it in manuals or supporting document in some cases.
Manufacturers are encouraged to begin transitioning to the UKCA mark for previously approved products and to ensure new products brought to market are assessed to UK regulations and receive UKCA marking for sale in Great Britain. For more insights, download our white paper and webinar recording.