Brexit red tape hitting UK innovation

1 min read

An interesting story in the weekend press, one that highlights the negative impact of Brexit on innovation and product development here in the UK.

According to trade bodies and entrepreneurs, inventions created here in the UK are having to be brought to market overseas because new Brexit safety certification rules mean they can’t be sold in the UK.

The blame is being put on the government’s decision to stop accepting the European Union’s CE mark and its plans to create a new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark showing that a product is safe. The new system will require a UK manufacturer to pass one set of tests for the EU and then another for the UK.

The UK, however, doesn’t have the facilities to carry out these tests and as a result companies will struggle to qualify devices. In response, a growing number are setting up new divisions in the US and Japan to bring their products to market.

Due to a lack of resources, or perhaps forward planning, plans to change from CE to UKCA have been delayed and compulsory UKCA markings for electrical products are not expected to come into force until 2025. However, many products are under continuous development and if major changes are made recertification will be required. It’s a confusing picture for companies.

This is impacting not only innovation but also inward investment in the UK at a time when the wider economy is struggling – so surely, it’s the time for some common sense and some clarity to help businesses. Will the CE mark continue to be accepted going forward, or will UK regulations significantly diverge from those of the EU?