Drives and Controls Magazine
Government delays UKCA enforcement by two more years
Published:  15 November, 2022

The Government is delaying the compulsory use of the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) safety mark by a further two years, giving businesses until 31 December 2024 to prepare for the scheme. Announcing the delay, Business Secretary Grant Shapps said it will give “thousands of businesses the freedom to focus on growth”.

The UKCA mark is intended to supersede the European CE mark. Businesses have been able to use the UKCA mark since 1 January 2021 to demonstrate their conformity with product safety standards in England, Scotland and Wales.

This is the second delay to compulsory implementation of the mark. In September 2021, its compulsory use was put back from its original starting date of January 2022 until January 2023. In June this year, the government announced a series of measures to make it easier for UK businesses to apply the mark.

The government will now continue to recognise the CE mark for two more years, giving businesses more time to prepare for UKCA. If they want, they can use the UKCA mark now, giving them flexibility to choose which marking to apply.

In a statement announcing the delay, the government says that “given the difficult economic conditions created by post-pandemic shifts in demand and supply, alongside Putin’s war in Ukraine and the associated high energy prices,” it does not want to “burden” business to meet the original (revised) deadline of 31 December 2022.

“The government is determined to remove barriers to businesses so they can get on with their top priorities, like providing quality customer service, enabling growth and supporting their staff,” says Shapps. “This move will give businesses the breathing space and flexibility they need at this crucial time and ensure that our future system for product safety marking is fit-for-purpose, providing the highest standard for consumers without harming businesses.”

Shapps: The government is determined to remove barriers to business

The government is also reviewing the wider product safety framework “to minimise the burdens on business while keeping the UK’s system up-to-date with new innovative methods such as e-labelling”.

To cut labelling costs, businesses will be allowed to use the UKCA mark and include importer information for products from EEA countries on an accompanying document or label until 31 December 2027. The government will also allow CE conformity assessments undertaken by 31 December 2024 to be used as the basis for UKCA marking until 31 December 2027.

The government has also published a database of UK Market Conformity Assessment Bodies which businesses can use to identify the appropriate body to certify their products.

Reacting to the new delay, Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, said: “Industry will welcome this announcement which recognises the simple fact that businesses in the UK and abroad are not ready for this change. If it had gone ahead as planned then many overseas companies would have pulled the plug on supplying the UK market as a result.

“Given this has been delayed yet again, we need to ask why Government is still ploughing ahead with the plans which are only adding costs and extra bureaucracy,” he added. “Instead, the UK should move to a longer term system of mutual recognition on technical regulations and standards particularly for CE-marked products.”