CE mark: MP slams 'total mess' in Brexit confusion over whether businesses can use EU safety mark

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

The CE mark (Conformité Européenne) is used by European countries to certify the safety of a wide range of items, including electrical goods, medical devices and even toys.

A leading MP has slammed the confusion over whether UK industries will be able to use the EU's product safety mark as a "total mess".

The CE mark (Conformité Européenne) is used by European countries to certify the safety of a wide range of items, including electrical goods, medical devices and even toys. This was used by British businesses while the UK was part of the EU, however after Brexit the government has brought in the country's own UKCA mark (UK Conformity Assessed).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

UK industry has been calling on the government to delay bringing in the new safety mark, saying it would add extra costs and any exports to the EU would have to carry the CE mark anyway.

Yesterday (1 August), the Department for Business and Trade announced it would retain the EU safety mark indefinitely, however has emerged that this would only apply to 18 regulations in the DBT's purview. Some medical goods and construction materials do not appear to be on this list.

Other government departments will have to individually announce whether they are keeping the EU safety mark, or mandating the new UKCA mark, the DBT told NationalWorld.

The EU's CE safety mark. Credit: Adobe/Andrei PozharskiyThe EU's CE safety mark. Credit: Adobe/Andrei Pozharskiy
The EU's CE safety mark. Credit: Adobe/Andrei Pozharskiy | Adobe/Andrei Pozharskiy

Co-convener of UK Trade and Business Commission, Hilary Benn MP said: “What should have been a positive announcement has turned into a total mess which has caused a great deal of confusion and frustration for some industries who thought they were gaining certainty.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The UKCA marking idea was only going to create additional costs and red tape and therefore removing it is the correct decision. The Prime Minister must, however, explain why some industries are now being told that they still have to use it while most others do not.”

Which areas will still be able to use the EU CE mark?

The Department for Business and Trade said the areas covered by the latest announcement are:

  • toys
  • pyrotechnics
  • recreational craft and personal watercraft
  • simple pressure vessels
  • electromagnetic compatibility
  • non-automatic weighing instruments
  • measuring instruments
  • measuring container bottles
  • lifts
  • equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX)
  • radio equipment
  • pressure equipment
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • gas appliances
  • machinery
  • equipment for use outdoors
  • aerosols
  • low voltage electrical equipment

In June, the UK TBC published 114 recommendations to improve trading conditions for businesses and boost economic growth, which included delaying mandatory use of the new UKCA marking and working closely with the EU to reduce trade friction.

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake had said: “The government is tackling red tape, cutting burdens for business, and creating certainty for firms – we have listened to industry, and we are taking action to deliver. By extending CE marking use across the UK, firms can focus their time and money on creating jobs and growing the economy."

This comes after the pollsters YouGov found that "Bregret" - Brexit regret - currently stands at its highest recorded level after the referendum. According to YouGov, 57% of voters believed Brexit was a mistake while just 32% thought Brexit was the correct decision. YouGov also found a majority of voters, 51%, now want to rejoin the EU.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fellow pollsters Deltapoll also found 51% of respondents want to rejoin the bloc whilst 34% are content outside of the EU. Omnisis also found the same result among voters, with a solid and growing margin in favour of rejoining, although this was short of a majority.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.