The government has given UK firms an extra year to comply with post-Brexit product safety marking thanks in part to an IGEM petition on behalf of industry.
Companies had faced a 1 January 2022 deadline to switch from Europe’s CE mark to the new UK conformity assessed (UKCA) standard for most products, but this will now be pushed back to 2023.
The new product safety marking rules will affect businesses supplying most products on the market in England, Scotland and Wales, the government said. The decision to delay the switchover is likely to have a huge impact on supply chains and consumers and it is hoped will prevent product shortages.
The government said the deadline extension followed “extensive and ongoing engagement with business groups” and reflected the impact of the pandemic on businesses.
Firms have been able to use the new UKCA markings since 1 January which the government says will allow it to have control over goods regulations “maintaining the high product safety standards expected in the UK”.
Manufacturers selling to Britain and the EU face having to apply two distinct processes, as the UK standard will not apply on the continent.
IGEM’s Head of Technical & Policy Ian McCluskey said: “Following a number of initial concerns raised regarding the deployment program of the UKCA certification, IGEM felt it appropriate to take action to represent the interests of not just the gas industry but UK industry as a whole.
“We took a deeper look at the potential impact of the January 2022 switch and undertook a survey of our members in early August. The results of the survey showed that over a third were not aware of the new requirements of UKCA, nearly two thirds had not engaged yet with a nominated body and only 12 per cent had obtained UKCA certification for their products.
“Business owners and those working in UK supply chains were not confident that they would have the required approvals in place by the deadline.
“Following the survey, we submitted a letter to Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng requesting that BEIS urgently consider extending the deadline from January 1, 2022, to January 1, 2023.
“Given the widespread pressures and concerns faced by the industry, we welcome this pragmatic decision by the government to extend the deadline to 2023. While this extension will still be very challenging it will buy the sector some time. However, it doesn’t alleviate the financial issues that have been reported by certain groups.”