The government is expected to extend the deadline for companies to adopt a new “UKCA” safety and quality mark for their goods after Brexit, bowing to fears of the impact on growing supply chain shortages.
Reports in the Financial Times say that the government will announce the extension this week. The one-year extension for UK products to continue using the EU’s “CE” safety mark came after businesses warned that they would not be ready for the planned post-Brexit shift away from EU markings at the end of 2021.
Since Brexit came into effect however, UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking has been introduced to replace the CE certification for Great Britain on construction products from 1 January 2022. The UKCA marking alone cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market, which require the CE marking or UKNI marking. For British construction product manufacturers, these changes have required careful planning.
The supply chain, including the Construction Products Association, had expressed concern about the ability of product manufacturers to have thousands of construction products retested in time for the new marking system to start operating on 1 January 2022.
The move will give UK manufacturers much needed time to complete re-testing. Product manufacturers had warned over risks to the British supply chain if they could no longer use products made overseas. EU-based suppliers were in many cases not ready to obtain a UKCA mark in order to supply goods to the UK market, raising the risk of serious gaps in British supply chains.
The FT understood that companies will be given until January 2023 to apply for the new UKCA marks, according to a person briefed on the move.
Trade bodies are also said to be working with government departments to help streamline the process to convert existing CE marks to the new UK certification system.