After a disruptive and frustrating implementation period, the Radio Equipment Directive is set to become UK law.
Members highlighted some issues in the draft Regulations and Impact Assessment we have highlighted namely:
- Some inconsistencies between wording in the UK Regulations and the text of the Directive.
- A slight differing on the obligations for importers in relation to retain docuemnts, meaning the UK obligations go further than what the Directive states.
- A major underestimation of the costs faced by manufacturers.
Aside from the costs in the Impact Assessment (which in our view needs to be rewritten), these are minor changes and the regulations will most likely be very similar to what they are now.
Given the UK is already a year late for transposition, we expect the final regulations to come into effect in a matter of weeks and this draws a very lengthy and expensive process to a partial close.
The Radio Equipment Directive has been an example of poor implementation. Technical Directives like this rely on dozens of underpinning standards to work, but these are not ready, yet the Commission proceeded anyway. There are still many critical standards not in place, meaning manufacturers need to either delay product launches or go through extra costly compliance processes (sometimes in six figures) to have products legally on the market.
Countries have been forced to come up with their own implementing powers, each one slightly different. This undermines CE marking, the single market and goes against the Better Regulation Initiative.
As the responsible department, BEIS has a role to play here too, in helping manufacturers understand the requirements and how exactly they will be enforced. They should also use this as a lessons learned opportunity to tell the Commission such a situation cannot happen again.