The Department for Business and Trade has announced an indefinite extension to the use of CE marking for UK businesses. Companies will be able to choose whether to use either the UKCA or the CE mark when selling their products in eighteen categories (such as toys, lifts and measuring instruments) in Great Britain.
The CE (Conformité Européenne) mark is used to certify that a wide range of items meet safety standards. Originally, recognition of the CE mark was due to end in December 2024 (after the deadline had been being extended several times). The government had introduced the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark instead.
The government has also updated its guidance about placing products on the market in Great Britain to reflect this decision. In addition, it has updated its guidance to placing products on the market in Northern Ireland to confirm that the CE marking is already recognised in Northern Ireland and so rules for placing goods on the Northern Ireland market have not changed.
There are different rules for medical devices, construction products, cableways, transportable pressure equipment, unmanned aircraft systems, rail products, marine equipment and ecodesign. The relevant departments covering these sectors either have communicated, or will communicate, plans in due course. The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has already issued a statement on CE marking recognition for medical devices and in vitro diagnostics.
The government's approach to this has been very contradictory. On the one hand it says that it wants to reduce regulation for businesses. On the other, it announces a change of regulation which businesses start to spend money and effort preparing for, and then cancels or postpones it again. It's probably an understatement to say this approach (which has also been the case for the regulation of HFSS promotional marketing and advertising) is unhelpful. In addition, UK bodies cannot certify CE marking, which means UK businesses need to work with a body based in the EU.