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UK New legislation to introduce digital labelling

  • New legislation to introduce digital labelling for British businesses to cut red tape and save millions in unnecessary regulation costs

  • Recognition of CE marking continued for products such as toys and machinery, easing burdens to businesses

  • Digital labelling reforms made possible by Brexit and ensures the UK’s regulatory requirements are fit for the modern world

Businesses are set to benefit from reduced costs and burdens as import labels are made digital for the first time.

Digital labelling will allow businesses to put important regulatory or manufacturing information online rather than requiring them to physically print it on their products – saving time and money which can be pushed towards scaling up and growing their company.

This measure has been made possible by leaving the EU and provides greater flexibility than the EU’s regulatory requirements while better reflecting the modern and digital world of business and international trade.

This follows the Product Safety Review consultation and extensive industry engagement – looking at ways to cut costs while benefitting consumers and ensuring our regulatory system is agile and a move towards digital labelling has been something the industry have consistently called for.

Business and Trade Minister Kevin Hollinrake said:

“I know first-hand the difficulties businesses face with regulations and red tape, and what we’re announcing today will not only ease business burdens and costs but will enable them to spend their time growing their companies and creating jobs.

“We’ve worked closely with multiple sectors to create policy that works for them and this is another step in the right direction to back British businesses.”

The CE or UKCA marking is used on products to demonstrate the manufacturer is compliant with legal requirements. Last summer, DBT announced the intention to indefinitely recognise current EU requirements, including the CE marking, for the 18 product regulations under the department’s remit.

Following feedback from industry, we are introducing legislation to continue the recognition of CE marking indefinitely for a range of additional regulations which will benefit products including vacuum cleaners and televisions. Full list of covered regulations are below. The UK government is taking a tailored approach to product regulation to ensure the interests of UK businesses, consumers and the economy are taken into account.

This comes as part of wider range of measures as part of our smarter regulation programme, which ensures our laws and regulatory regime are better tailored in the interests of UK businesses, consumers and the economy.

This announcement does not apply to regulations for medical devices, construction products, marine equipment, rail products, cableways, transportable pressure equipment and unmanned aircraft systems, led by relevant government departments.

The indefinite recognition of current EU requirements, including the CE marking, for these 21 regulations means businesses have the flexibility to use either the UKCA or CE marking (Or reverse epsilon marking where applicable) to sell products in Great Britain.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive:

“Recognising CE marking indefinitely is very welcome and a common sense decision that will benefit the motorist and the competitiveness of the UK automotive industry. It means that thousands of aftermarket and supply chain businesses can continue to source vital automotive parts without unnecessary additional cost and complexity, keeping costs low for consumers and ensuring vehicles are built and maintained to the highest possible standards.” 

Andrew Evans CEng MInstMC, Technical director, The GAMBICA association Ltd said: 

“UK suppliers of instrumentation, control, automation and laboratory equipment, within the membership of GAMBICA, appreciate the government’s engagement and practical steps to facilitate movement of goods across the GB border to ensure the long-term supply of critical components from a complex global supply chain.” 

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, Stephen Phipson, said:

“The addition of three further regulated sectors that will benefit from the indefinite recognition of current EU requirements including the use of CE marking, is a welcome move that manufactures who develop and sell products in these areas will very much welcome and support.  

“The added introduction of a ‘fast track’ process for products that are covered by multiple regulations, new permanent arrangements for labelling flexibility and an option for digital labelling, will all work together to help safeguard the competitiveness of manufacturers and aid the UK as a destination for investment. Make UK has called for the indefinite extension of a CE marking recognition for all UK manufactured goods to be a permanent change, and this should cover all goods and products sectors produced using a manufacturing process.” 

TechUK Director of Markets Matthew Evans said:

“We strongly support the government’s decision to allow the voluntary use of e-labelling, in line with our key recommendations during the UK’s product compliance framework review. This represents a modern and progressive approach by DBT and will undoubtedly cut compliance costs, foster innovation, and lessen environmental impact. It will also align the UK with major trading partners like the United States, China, Japan, and South Korea, improving our trading relationships.”

A new ‘Fast-Track UKCA’ process will also be introduced, allowing manufacturers to use the UKCA marking to demonstrate compliance with either UKCA or recognised EU conformity processes. Where products are covered by multiple regulations, a mixture of both UKCA and CE conformity assessment procedures can be used.

This is designed to provide longer-term certainty and flexibility for businesses should the UK mandate UKCA for certain regulations in the future.  

Notes to Editors:

Regulations in scope of this announcement

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) regulations in scope of this announcement are:

·        Equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres Regulations 2016/1107 

·        Electromagnetic compatibility Regulations 2016/1091 

·        Lifts Regulations 2016/1093 

·        Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016/1101 

·        Pressure Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016/1105 

·        Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015/1553 

·        Recreational Craft Regulations 2017/737 

·        Radio Equipment Regulations 2017/1206 

·        Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations 2016/1092 

·        Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011/1881 

·        Aerosol Dispensers Regulations 2009/ 2824 

·        Gas Appliances (EU Regulation) 2016/426 

·        Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008/1597 

·        Noise Emission in the Environment by Equipment for use Outdoors Regulations 2001/1701 

·        Personal Protective Equipment (EU Regulation) 2016/425 

·        Measuring Instruments Regulations 2016/1153 

·        Non-automatic weighing instruments Regulations 2016/1152 

·        Measuring Container Bottles (EEC Requirements) Regulations 1977  

For the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): 

·        The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012 (‘The RoHS Regulations’)  

For the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ):

·        The Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products Regulations 2010 

For the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) [The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)]:

·        The Explosives Regulations 2014

Regulations not in scope of this announcement:

The UK government is taking a tailored approach to product regulation to ensure the interests of UK businesses, consumers and the economy are taken into account. There are certain sectors which require a bespoke approach to conformity assessment, and therefore extending recognition of the CE marking for products under the following regulations is not being included in this legislation. This includes:  

For The Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC): 

·        Construction Product Regulations 2013 

For The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) [- Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)] 

·        The Medical Devices Regulations 2002 

For the Department for Transport (DFT) 

·        The Railways (interoperability) Regulations 2011 

·        Merchant Shipping (Marine Equipment Regulations) 2016 

·        The Cableway Installations Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/816) and The Cableway Installations (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/1347). 

·        The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009

·        Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Regulation 2019/945

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