During the summer holidays, the UK Department for Business and Trade (DBT) has announced an indefinite extension of the use of CE marking for businesses in the whole of the UK.
CE marking, which signifies conformity with European technical legislation, will continue to be allowed alongside the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark. Originally the idea was to abolish CE marking and replace it completely with UKCA in Great-Britain. For Northern-Ireland, the plan was always to maintain CE marking only.
The extension of the validity of the CE marking comes after extensive consultations with industry stakeholders, addressing their concerns and aligning with their growth objectives. By allowing businesses to continue using CE marking, the government allegedly aims to provide them with the clarity needed to focus on innovation and expansion, rather than navigating regulatory complexities. The extension should provide businesses with flexibility and choice to use either the UKCA or CE approach to sell products in Great Britain.
However, it’s unclear what the effect will be once the legislation behind the respective marks will start to deviate from each other. The best example is the replacement of the Machinery Directive by the Machinery Regulation. As of end December 2026, in the EU the current Directive will be replaced by a Regulation with a number of new and amended requirements. The UK will not implement the new Machinery Regulation but will stay with the Machinery Directive. Consequently, the CE marking and the UKCA marking will stand for two different things. Since the UKCA marking will not cover the additional and amended requirements of the new Regulation, it may then be attractive to opt for the UKCA marking for the Brittish market. As times moves on, the CE and UKCA markings will only grow further apart.
Another issue relates to the fact that the UK continues its participation in European standards. If standards get harmonized under the new Machinery Regulation, this harmonization will have no legal value in the UK, which will not implement that Regulation. All these are difficult questions which the current government has clearly decided to pass on to their successors.