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This article applies to selling in: United Kingdom

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Requirements

EU requirements: Directive 2014/30/EU (the “EMC Directive") sets out requirements for equipment in order to ensure that it complies with an adequate level of electromagnetic compatibility. This is to ensure protection against electromagnetic disturbance. The EMC Directive establishes essential requirements relating to electromagnetic compatibility, labelling requirements, conformity procedures, and other obligations.

If you manufacture, import or distribute equipment in the EU, you must comply with the requirements of the EMC Directive. You must also comply with national laws and regulations in Member States which implement the EMC Directive.

Please see below for further information about EU requirements.

UK requirements: The UK’s Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016/1091 (the “EMC Regulation") sets out requirements for equipment in order to ensure that equipment complies with an adequate level of electromagnetic compatibility.

If you manufacture, import or distribute equipment in the UK, you must comply with the requirements of the EMC Regulation. Different rules apply to goods you sell in: (1) Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales); and (2) Northern Ireland. Please note that if you also sell these products on Amazon EU websites, then you must also comply with national laws and regulations in EU Member States, which implement the EU’s Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive (2014/30/EU).

Please see below for further information about UK requirements.

This material is for informational purposes and you should not take it as a substitute for legal advice. We encourage you to consult your legal counsel for any concerns about the laws and regulations related to your product. This material only reflects the position at the date of writing and requirements may change – particularly in light of the developing position with Brexit. You should refer to current UK Brexit guidance about your products (see below) to learn more about changes that may affect you following the end of the transition period.

EU requirements: What products does the EMC Directive apply to?

The EMC Directive applies to equipment. Equipment is (i) either a single functional unit sold to an end user and liable to generate electromagnetic disturbance or whose performance could be affected by electromagnetic disturbance (defined as “apparatus”) and (ii) combinations of such units (and potentially other devices) that are assembled, installed, and intended to be used permanently at a predefined location (defined as a “fixed installation”).

There are some exceptions, including: aeronautical products, radio equipment used by radio amateurs, and custom-built evaluation kits intended for professionals to be used solely at research and development facilities for such purposes.

Who has obligations under the EMC Directive?

The EMC Directive sets out obligations for manufacturers, authorized representatives, importers, and distributors.

  • You are a manufacturer if you manufacture apparatus yourself, or you have apparatus designed and manufactured, and market it under your name or trademark.
  • You are an authorized representative if a manufacturer has given you a written mandate to act on their behalf in relation to specific tasks.
  • You are an importer if you are established in the EU and you sell apparatus from outside the EU into the EU.
  • You are a distributor if you make apparatus available for sale or supply, but are not a manufacturer or importer.

What are the key requirements of the EMC Directive?

Declaration of Conformity and CE marking:

A manufacturer’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Ensuring that the equipment has been designed and manufactured in accordance with the essential requirements set out in the Annex of the EMC Directive
  • Carrying out a conformity assessment and drawing up the required technical documentation in a language or languages required in the Member States in which the electrical equipment is sold
  • Affixing the CE marking visibly, legibly, and indelibly to the electrical equipment or to its data plate, and to the packaging

An importer’s responsibilities include ensuring the following:

  • The appropriate conformity assessment procedure has been carried out by the manufacturer
  • The manufacturer has drawn up the technical documentation
  • The electrical equipment bears the CE marking and is accompanied by the required documents
  • While an electrical equipment is under their responsibility, ensuring that its storage or transport conditions do not jeopardise its compliance with the essential requirements

Manufacturers and importers of equipment must keep a copy of the technical documentation and a copy of the declaration of conformity for 10 years after the equipment has been offered for sale or supply.

A distributor’s responsibilities include:

  • Acting with due care in relation to the requirements of the EMC
  • Ensuring that while equipment is under their responsibility, its storage or transport conditions do not jeopardise its compliance with the essential requirements

Labelling and information

Manufacturers and importers must ensure that the equipment bears:

  • The name, registered trade name or registered trade mark, and the postal address at which they can be contacted of the manufacturer and importer (as appropriate)
  • The type, batch or serial number, or other element allowing the identification of the equipment
  • The CE marking

Distributor responsibilities include verifying that the equipment bears a CE mark, a type, batch or serial number, or other element allowing its identification, and the manufacturer and importer details.

Where it is not possible for this information to be on the equipment itself, the above information should be on its packaging or a document accompanying the equipment. In addition, proper instructions, safety information, and the Declaration of Conformity must accompany the electrical equipment.

The above information should be in a language that can be easily understood by end users and the authorities.

What should you do if equipment is not in conformity with the EMC Directive?

Manufacturers, importers, and distributors should immediately take the corrective measures necessary to bring equipment into conformity, or withdraw or recall it, as appropriate.

When the equipment presents a risk, manufacturers, importers, and distributors should immediately inform the competent national authorities of the Member States where it was sold, along with details of the non-conformity and of any corrective measures taken.

Manufacturers, importers, and distributors should provide a competent national authority with all the information and documentation, in paper or electronic form, necessary to demonstrate the conformity of the equipment with the EMC Directive, following a reasoned request.

Additional Information

We strongly encourage you to visit the European Commission’s websites for more information on the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive:

http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/electrical-engineering/emc-directive_en

http://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/26441

UK requirements: Where does the EMC Regulation apply?

The EMC Regulation applies to all products sold in the UK, but the provisions apply differently to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales, “GB”) and Northern Ireland. You can read more about the position in Northern Ireland (“NI”) below.

What products does the EMC Regulation apply to?

The EMC Regulation applies to equipment. Equipment is (i) either a single functional unit sold to an end-user and liable to generate electromagnetic disturbance or whose performance could be affected by electromagnetic disturbance (defined as “apparatus”) and (ii) combinations of such units (and potentially other devices) that are assembled, installed, and intended to be used permanently at a predefined location (defined as a “fixed installation”).

There are some exceptions, including: aeronautical products, radio equipment used by radio amateurs, and custom-built evaluation kits intended for professionals to be used solely at research and development facilities for such purposes.

Who has obligations under the EMC Regulation?

The EMC Regulation sets out obligations for manufacturers, authorized representatives, importers, and distributors.

  • You are a manufacturer if you manufacture apparatus yourself or have apparatus designed, manufactured, and market it under your name or trademark.
  • You are an authorized representative if a manufacturer has given you a written mandate to act on their behalf in relation to specific tasks.
  • You are an importer if:
    • until the end of the Brexit transition period (December 31, 2020), you are established in the EU and you sell equipment from outside the EU into the UK; and
    • after the end of the Brexit transition period (December 31, 2020), you are established in the UK and sell equipment from a country outside of the UK into GB.
    • For details of importing into NI, see the “Northern Ireland” section below.
  • You are a distributor if you make apparatus available for sale or supply but are not a manufacturer or importer.

What are the key requirements of the EMC Regulation?

Declaration of Conformity and conformity marking:

A manufacturer’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Ensuring that the equipment has been designed and manufactured in accordance with the essential requirements set out in Schedule 1 of the EMC Regulation;
  • Carrying out a conformity assessment and drawing up the required technical documentation in English; and
  • Affixing the required conformity marking visibly, legibly, and indelibly to the electrical equipment or to its data plate, and to the packaging

The required conformity marking is as follows:

  • for equipment sold in the UK until the end of the Brexit transition period (December 31, 2020), the European CE mark;
  • for equipment sold in GB after the end of the Brexit transition period (December 31, 2020), the UKCA mark;
  • for equipment sold in NI while the Northern Ireland Protocol remains in force, the European CE mark (see “Northern Ireland” section below).

Note: The UK Government has passed legislation which provides that for certain products (including products covered by the EMC Regulation) CE marking will be accepted in GB until January 1, 2022, and that additional means of affixing the UKCA mark will be accepted until January 1, 2023. A specific Declaration of Conformity will be required referencing UK (not EU) legislation and standards. See the “Brexit: UK Government guidance” section below for more details on the new requirements and transitional measures.

An importer’s responsibilities include ensuring the following:

  • The appropriate conformity assessment procedure has been carried out by the manufacturer
  • The manufacturer has drawn up the technical documentation
  • The electrical equipment bears the required conformity marking and is accompanied by the required documents
  • While electrical equipment is under their responsibility, ensuring its storage or transport conditions do not jeopardise its compliance with the essential requirements.

Manufacturers and importers of equipment must keep a copy of the technical documentation and a copy of the declaration of conformity for 10 years after the equipment has been offered for sale or supply.

A distributor’s responsibilities include:

  • Acting with due care in relation to the requirements of the EMC Regulation
  • Ensuring that while equipment is under their responsibility, its storage or transport conditions do not jeopardise its compliance with the essential requirements

Labelling and information

Manufacturers and importers must ensure that the equipment bears:

  • The name, registered trade name or registered trade mark, and the postal address at which they can be contacted of the manufacturer and importer (as appropriate)
  • The type, batch or serial number, or other element allowing the identification of the equipment
  • The required conformity marking (CE or UKCA mark)

Distributor responsibilities include verifying that the equipment bears a UK mark, a type, batch or serial number, or other element allowing its identification, and the manufacturer and importer details.

Where it is not possible for this information (excluding the conformity marking) to be on the equipment itself, it should be on its packaging or a document accompanying the equipment. The UK government has released guidance on alternative means of providing GB importer traceability information until December 31, 2022. See “Brexit: UK Government guidance” section below for links to this guidance.

In addition, proper instructions, safety information, and the Declaration of Conformity must accompany the electrical equipment. A specific Declaration of Conformity that refers to UK legislation and standards will be required for products sold in GB with a UKCA marking from January 1, 2021. See the “Brexit: UK Government guidance” section below for links to the UK Government guidance on this.

The above information should be in English.

Note: Products that are first made available in the EU or UK on or before December 31, 2020, can continue to circulate until they reach their end user and do not need to comply with the changes that take effect from January 1, 2021. You can retain evidence of when products were first made available in the UK or EU by keeping documents including contracts of sale, invoices and documents concerning the shipping of goods for distribution.

Northern Ireland

Please note that different rules will apply in NI from January 1, 2021, as a result of the Northern Ireland Protocol. In particular:

  • You should ensure that products meet EU requirements and that you use the CE mark.
  • You are an importer if you are established in the EU or NI and you sell products from a country outside of the EU and Northern Ireland (including from GB) into NI. Products sold in NI should be marked with details of any EU / NI based importer.
  • Authorised representatives can be based in NI or the EU. From July 16, 2021, new rules come into force under EU Regulation 2019/1020 and some businesses may need to appoint a responsible person in the EU or NI to carry out compliance functions (if there is no other entity in the supply chain who is able to carry out the functions). Further guidance on the new rules will be made available by the UK Government.
  • If you are using a UK body to carry out mandatory third-party conformity assessment, you will need to apply a UKNI marking as well as a CE mark to products placed in NI from January 1, 2021. Goods with the CE and UKNI marking can’t be sold in the EU. You do not need to use the UKNI marking if you self-certify compliance or use an EU body to carry out a mandatory third-party assessment.
  • “Qualifying Northern Ireland goods” will be able to be sold in GB with the CE mark. The UK Government is issuing guidance on how this will work.

What should you do if equipment is not in conformity with the EMC Regulation?

Manufacturers, importers, and distributors should immediately take the corrective measures necessary to bring equipment into conformity, to withdraw or to recall it, as appropriate.

When the equipment presents a risk, manufacturers, importers, and distributors should immediately inform Trading Standards (or OFCOM for apparatus with issues relating to the protection and management of the radio spectrum), along with details of the non-conformity and of any corrective measures taken.

Manufacturers, importers, and distributors should provide the competent authority with all the information and documentation, in paper or electronic form, necessary to demonstrate the conformity of the equipment with the EMC Regulation, following a reasoned request.

Brexit: UK Government guidance

The UK Government has released guidance on selling products in GB and NI after Brexit . This guidance provides information for manufacturers, importers and distributors regarding compliance requirements from January 1, 2021, including on:

  • whether you need to change your conformity assessment;
  • when and how to use the UKCA mark;
  • requirements for technical documentation and a specific Declaration of Conformity for products sold in GB;
  • appointing an authorised representative or responsible person in the UK;
  • whether your legal responsibilities will change as a result of Brexit;
  • whether you need to provide GB importer information, and methods for doing this (including transitional arrangements until the end of 2022);
  • how to deal with existing stock;
  • what documentary evidence is required to show that products have been placed in the UK or EU before the end of the Transition Period; and
  • specific rules for selling products in NI.

We encourage you to review this guidance (linked below), alongside any other specific UK Government guidance that applies to your product. You should consult your legal counsel if you have questions about how the laws and regulations apply to your products from January 1, 2021.

The Brexit guidance can be found here:

Additional information

We also encourage you to visit the Business Companion website, which contains guidance on UK product compliance rules:

https://www.businesscompanion.info/en/get-started

https://www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/product-safety/electrical-equipment

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