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UKCA, the new marking for post-Brexit products & the EMC regulations

2021/12/31 > Back

Following the UK's official withdrawal from the EU, the UK government has confirmed that the UKCA marking came into effect on 1 January 2021. From 2023 onwards, the UKCA marking will be the only mark of conformity for products entering the GB market. This mark is only available in the United Kingdom of Great Britain (including England, Wales and Scotland) and does not include Northern Ireland (NI). In order to enhance market competitiveness, H&L has been prepared in advance in 2021. Products legally affixed with the UKCA marking are required to have a declaration of conformity signed by the manufacturer or its authorized representative (to the extent permitted by the relevant law). Most of the products currently covered by the CE marking regulations and directives cover the UKCA marking, the EU Directive for Electromagnetic Compatibility - Directive 2014/30/EU will also become the UK Regulation Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016.

Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on businesses, the government will extend this deadline to 1 January 2023 to apply UKCA marks for certain products to demonstrate compliance with product safety regulations, rather than 1 January 2022. This extension means all goods which previously required the CE marking will not need to use the UKCA marking until 1 January 2023. The exception is medical devices where businesses will not need to use the UKCA marking until 1 July 2023. Under the terms of the Protocol, Northern Ireland will continue to recognize the CE marking for goods placed on the market in Northern Ireland. They will need to use the UKNI marking if they use a UK Conformity Assessment Body to test their products.

Here are some of the highlights we've excerpted from The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016:

Legislative Background
The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016 implements into UK law an EU Directive (2014/30/EU) on electromagnetic compatibility (commonly called the EMC Directive). The EU Withdrawal Act 2018 preserves the Regulations and enables them to be amended so as to continue to function effectively now that the UK has left the EU. Accordingly, the Product Safety and Metrology etc.  (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 fix any deficiencies that arose from the UK leaving the EU (such as references to EU institutions) and make specific provision for the GB market. There is therefore one set of UK 2016 Regulations, but some of the provisions apply differently in NI for as long as the Northern Ireland Protocol is in force. References to the 2016 Regulations in this guidance are references to those Regulations as they apply in Great Britain.

Obligations of manufacturers
A manufacturer is a person who manufactures apparatus, or has apparatus designed or manufactured, and markets that apparatus under their name or trademark. The obligations of manufacturers of apparatus include:

  1. Before placing apparatus on the GB market, the manufacturer must ensure that it has been designed and manufactured in accordance with the essential requirements as set out in Schedule 1 to the 2016 Regulations and that they have had have a relevant conformity assessment procedure carried out and technical documentation drawn up.
  2. Once this has been done, the manufacturer must draw up a declaration of conformity, and affix the UKCA marking to the apparatus, except where it is not possible or warranted to affix the UKCA marking to the apparatus, in which case it must be affixed to the packaging and the accompanying documents. Until 31 December 2023*, the UKCA marking may be affixed to a label affixed to, or a document accompanying, the apparatus, even where it can otherwise be affixed to the apparatus. *On 24 August 2021 the Government announced the transition periods for UKCA marking and UKCA labelling would each be extended until 31 December 2022 and 31 December 2023 respectively. Legislation will be placed before Parliament in the autumn to give effect to this.
  3. Qualifying Northern Ireland goods can be placed on the GB market with the CE and CE UKNI conformity markings, see further detail in Section 10 on Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods.
  4. Manufacturers must keep technical documentation and the declaration of conformity for 10 years after the apparatus has been placed on the GB market.
  5. Manufacturers must label apparatus with their name, registered trade name or registered trade mark, a postal address, and the type batch or serial number (or other identification). Where it is not possible to indicate the type, batch or serial number (or other identification) on the apparatus due to its size or nature and /or it is not possible to include the manufacturer’s name, registered trade name or registered trade mark or a postal address on the apparatus, the manufacturer must ensure the information is included on the packaging or in a document accompanying the apparatus.
  6. Manufacturers must ensure that the apparatus is accompanied by relevant instructions in English.

Obligations of importers
An importer is a person or business based in the UK who places apparatus on the GB market from a country outside the UK. This means that UK businesses which used to act as a ‘distributor’ before the end of the transition period legally become an ‘importer’ if they place products from an EEA country on the GB market.

This includes apparatus that is supplied to NI businesses from the EEA and then placed on the GB market. In this instance the NI business will take on importer obligations for EEA-supplied goods that are placed on the GB market (see also Section 10 on Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods).

Importers have additional legal obligations which go beyond those of distributors, such as checking that manufacturers have carried out the right conformity assessment procedures, and including their (the importer’s) name, registered trade name or mark and a postal address on the equipment or, where this is not possible, on the packaging of the apparatus or in documentation accompanying the equipment.

To assist with the transition, the UK has applied a transitional period ending 31 December 2022 to allow UK suppliers of apparatus from the EEA or Switzerland who became importers into the GB market to provide their details on the accompanying documentation as an alternative to placing them on the apparatus itself (even in cases where it would have otherwise been possible to include them on the apparatus itself). This applies to goods that are not qualifying Northern Ireland goods.

Transitional arrangements - Existing CE marked stock
The UK continues to recognise the competency of EU recognised conformity assessment bodies (notified bodies) to assess apparatus for the GB market. Products assessed by an EU recognised notified body and placed on the GB market before 31 December 2022 do not need reassessment.

Apparatus which has undergone full conformity assessment under the equivalent EU requirements and bears the CE marking will be deemed compliant with the GB legislation and can be placed on the GB market as if it had been UKCA marked until 31 December 2022.

UKCA Marking - Self-declaration
Manufacturers placing apparatus on the GB market on the basis of self-declaration of conformity (where permitted in the Regulations) can affix the new UKCA marking before placing the apparatus on the GB market. Alternatively, until 31 December 2022, manufacturers placing apparatus on the GB market can still affix the CE marking, based on self-declaration of conformity (where permitted) by the manufacturer.

It is possible to affix both the UKCA marking and the CE marking to the same apparatus where conformity procedures are based on self-declaration (where permitted), as long as the EU and GB requirements remain the same. When selling to the EU, or placing on the NI market, the CE marking remains mandatory.

refer more on The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016 (legislation.gov.uk)

Data source: sgs; www.gov.uk; bacl.com.tw