Government grants extension on UKCA mark deadline
31 August 2021
THE GOVERNMENT has announced that businesses will now have an extra year to start using the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark (ie the new product safety marking in the UK). This applies to all goods where businesses were due to begin using the UKCA mark by the end of this year.
As a result, businesses will have more time to meet their legal obligations given the continued impact of the pandemic. The extra year to apply new product safety markings encompasses most products – fire safety-focused systems and solutions among them – placed on the market in England, Scotland and Wales.
In essence, UKCA marking allows the UK to have control over its goods regulations, maintaining the high product safety standards expected. Recognising the impact of the pandemic, the Government has extended the deadline to 1 January 2023 for businesses to apply UKCA marks for certain products in order to demonstrate compliance with product safety regulations. The original deadline stood at 1 January 2022.
The UKCA marking replaces the product safety labelling (including the CE mark) that the UK previously used while a member of the European Union.
The announcement from Westminster follows the Government’s extensive and ongoing engagement with business groups and reflects the issues businesses have raised, particularly so given the impact of COVID-19. Businesses must take action to ensure they’re ready to apply UKCA marking by 1 January 2023, though, as this is now the final deadline.
For its part, the Government will continue to engage with manufacturers to ensure they understand what they need to do to ready themselves for the change, including through a new series of webinars. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has already run several webinars in the last few months, in fact, and “engaged extensively” with Trade Associations including the Fire Industry Association (FIA).
Commenting on the announcement, Ian Moore (CEO at the FIA) stated: “We’re proud to have worked collaboratively with the Government to highlight our industry’s concerns over the implementation of the UKCA mark and the timeline that was previously suggested. Through our UKCA Special Interest Group, we’ve been working with the majority of our members to discuss the impact of the UKCA mark and communicate their issues to the Government. This positive result comes after the extensive time and effort that has been undertaken by the FIA team on behalf of our members.”
Across the last year, the FIA has sent several letters to the Government voicing the concerns of its members and the fire industry in general when it comes to the impact of implementing the new UKCA mark.
Reiterating the fact that this issue is – and will remain – an absolutely key one for the organisation, the FIA has explained on its website: “It’s vitally important that the Government understands the impact that changing to the UKCA regime will have not only for businesses from the fire industry whose task it is to keep buildings safe, but also for the thousands of business owners who rely on their buildings being compliant such that they can remain open. We’ve successfully lobbied to extend the transition period. While we are proud to have helped secure this extension, it’s now crucial that our members continue their efforts to implement the UKCA mark within the new timeframe specified.”
To extend the deadline, the Government will introduce a Statutory Instrument under Section 8 of the European Union Withdrawal Act at some point later on this year.
Businesses have been able to use the UKCA mark since 1 January 2021 to demonstrate their conformity with product standards in England, Scotland and Wales. Under the terms of the Protocol, Northern Ireland will continue to recognise the CE marking for goods placed on the market in Northern Ireland. Businesses located in Northern Ireland will need to adopt the UKNI marking if they use a UK Conformity Assessment Body to test products.