TALKING POINT on IBIBrexit or not after all?
On 1 August 2023, the UK Department of Business and Trade (DBT), formerly the Department of Business and Industry (BEIS), announced that the deadline for the parallel recognition of CE marking to UKCA marking in GB would be extended “indefinitely”. The deadline had previously already been postponed from the end of December 2022 to the end of December 2024.
This new announcement creates some confusion because
- l the Recreational Craft Regulations 2017 (as amended) have been in force since 3 August 2017 and the law has not yet been repealed.
- l the meaning of “indefinitely” creates little legal certainty.
- l DBT/BEIS has only ever made declarations of intent.
- l there is no law that makes the latest DBT/BEIS statement of intent binding.
- l other ministries have not sent similar notices regarding other regulations.
- l there could be different announcements after the next general election in a little over a year.
There’s potential for further confusion given the current political landscape. For 13 years, the Conservative party, currently under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have been the ruling political party in the UK. The Party has been trailing the opposition Labour Party in the polls for some time and many are predicting a landslide defeat as voters hit the polls in next year’s election. The Labour Party, led by Sir Keir Starmer, has been making overtures of late to woo Europe and Brussels with talk of a new Brexit deal – a prospect labelled both daring and delusional by some in commentariat.
Another reason for the current lack of clarity is that several UK safety laws are being revised with the UK also starting to draft its own Product Safety Regulation, which appears to be not in line with the EU directive.
Doubts are reasonable that the UK authorities will be able to bring all the updated legislation into force before the end of 2024.
To be prepared for the future and to avoid any political eventualities, I recommend that all concerned manufacturers in our industry undertake UKCA certification in addition to CE certification. Whether CE assessment alone will continue to be tolerated in the Great Britain is questionable. It is worth investing the small additional costs for more legal certainty and against unpleasant surprises.