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This article applies to selling in: United Kingdom

Requirements for Radio Equipment Directive

EU requirements: EU Directive 2014/53/EU (“RED”) regulates radio equipment. RED is the overarching EU framework for the essential health and safety requirements and electromagnetic compatibility for the design and manufacture of radio equipment, labelling requirements of the radio equipment, and the applicable conformity assessment procedure.

If you manufacture, import, or distribute radio equipment that is sold in the EU, you must comply with the requirements of the RED. You must also comply with national laws and regulations in Member States, which implement RED.

Please see below for further information about EU requirements.

UK requirements: The UK’s Radio Equipment Regulations 2017/1206 (“RER”) regulates radio equipment. RER is the overarching framework for the essential health and safety requirements and electromagnetic compatibility for the design and manufacture of radio equipment, labelling requirements of the radio equipment, and the applicable conformity assessment procedure.

If you manufacture, import or distribute radio equipment that is sold in the UK, you must comply with the requirements of RER. Different rules apply to goods you sell in: (1) Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales); and (2) Northern Ireland. If you also sell radio equipment on Amazon EU websites, then you must also comply with national laws and regulations in EU Member States, which implement the EU’s Radio Equipment Directive (2014/53/EU).

Please see below for further information about UK requirements.

This material is for information 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, as well as to consult the national laws and regulations implementing RED. This material only reflects the position at the date of writing and requirements in the EU and the UK 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 RED apply to?

Red applies to radio equipment. Radio equipment is defined as:

  • an electrical or electronic product that intentionally emits and/or receives radio waves for the purpose of radio communication and/or radio-determination; or
  • An electrical or electronic product which must be completed with an accessory, such as antenna, to intentionally emit and/or receive radio waves for the purpose of radio communication and/or radio-determination.

There are some exceptions listed in Annex I of RED (which include amongst other examples, certain marine equipment, certain equipment used by radio amateurs) and radio equipment exclusively used for activities concerning public security, defence, and state security.

Further, delegated acts may be adopted to specify categories or classes of radio equipment that are subject to additional essential requirements. To date, there has only been delegated regulation (EU) 2019/320, which from March 17, 2022, will require that mobile devices ensure caller location is available for transmission in emergency communications.

Who has obligations under RED?

RED sets out obligations for manufacturers, authorized representatives, importers, and distributors.

  • You are a manufacturer if you manufacture radio equipment yourself or have radio equipment designed and manufactured, and sell 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 radio equipment from outside the EU into the EU.
  • You are a distributor if you make radio equipment available for sale or supply but are not a manufacturer or importer.

What are the key requirements of RED?

Declaration of Conformity and CE marking

A manufacturer’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Ensuring that the radio equipment has been designed and manufactured in accordance with the essential requirements set out in RED;
  • Drawing up the technical documentation;
  • Carrying out a conformity assessment and drawing up an EU declaration of conformity;
  • Affixing the CE marking visibly, legibly, and indelibly to the radio equipment or to its data plate, and to the packaging; and
  • When appropriate and with regard to the risks by radio equipment: (i) carry out sample testing; (ii) investigate complaints; (iii) if necessary, keep registers of complaints, non-conforming radio equipment and recalls; and (iv) keep distributors informed about the monitoring.

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 radio equipment bears the CE marking;
  • While an equipment is under their responsibility, ensuring its storage or transport conditions do not jeopardise its compliance with the essential requirements; and
  • When appropriate and with regard to the risks presented by radio equipment: (i) carry out sample testing, (ii) investigate complaints; (iii) if necessary keep registers of complaints, non-conforming radio equipment; and (iv) keep distributors informed about monitoring.

A distributor’s responsibilities include:

  • Acting with due care in relation to the requirements of RED; and
  • 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 radio 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/or importer
  • The type, batch or serial number, or other element allowing the identification of the radio equipment
  • The CE marking.

Distributor responsibilities include verifying the radio 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 radio equipment itself, the above information should be on its packaging or a document accompanying the radio equipment.

In addition, proper instructions, safety information, and the Declaration of Conformity or the internet address at which the Declaration of Conformity can be accessed must accompany the radio equipment.

Information available on the packaging must allow the identification of the Member States or the geographical area within a Member State where any restrictions on putting into service or requirements for authorisation of use exist.

Registration

As of June 12, 2018, manufacturers must register radio equipment types that fall within certain categories of radio equipment that are affected by a low level of compliance with the essential requirements of RED. The allocated registration number should be affixed to the radio equipment.

What should you do if electrical equipment is not in conformity with RED?

When radio equipment does not conform with RED, manufacturers, importers, and distributors should immediately take the corrective measures necessary to bring radio equipment into conformity, to withdraw or to recall it, as appropriate.

When radio 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 the non-conformity details and of any corrective measures taken.

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

Additional Information

We strongly encourage you to visit the European Commission’s website for more information on Radio Equipment Directive:

https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/electrical-engineering/red-directive_en

UK requirements: Where does RER apply?

RER 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 RER apply to?

RER applies to radio equipment. Radio equipment is defined as:

  • an electrical or electronic product that intentionally emits and/or receives radio waves for the purpose of radio communication and/or radio-determination, or
  • an electrical or electronic product which must be completed with an accessory, such as antenna, to intentionally emit and/or receive radio waves for the purpose of radio communication and/or radio-determination.

There are some exceptions listed in Schedule 1 of RER (which include amongst other examples, certain marine equipment, certain equipment used by radio amateurs and radio equipment exclusively used for activities concerning public security, defence, and state security).

Who has obligations under RER?

RER sets out obligations for manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers, and distributors.

  • You are a manufacturer if you manufacture radio equipment yourself or have radio equipment designed, manufactured, and sells 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 radio 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 radio 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 radio equipment available for sale or supply but are not a manufacturer or importer.

What are the key requirements of RER?

Declaration of Conformity and conformity marking

A manufacturer’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Ensuring that the radio equipment has been designed and manufactured in accordance with the essential requirements set out in RER;
  • Drawing up the technical documentation;
  • Carrying out a conformity assessment and drawing up a declaration of conformity;
  • Affixing the required conformity marking visibly, legibly, and indelibly to the radio equipment or to its data plate, and to the packaging. The relevant conformity marking is as follows:
    • for radio equipment sold in the UK until the end of the Brexit transition period (currently, December 31, 2020), the European CE mark; and
    • for radio equipment sold in GB after the end of the Brexit transition period (currently, December 31, 2020), the UKCA mark;
    • for products sold in NI while the Northern Ireland Protocol remains in force, the European CE mark (see “Northern Ireland” section below); and
  • When appropriate and with regard to the risks presented: (i) carry out sample testing; (ii) investigate complaints; (iii) keep registers for complaints, non-conforming radio equipment, and recalls; and (iv) keep distributors informed about the monitoring.

Note: The UK Government has passed legislation which provides that for certain products (including products covered by the RER) 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 radio equipment bears the required conformity marking;
  • While an equipment is under their responsibility, ensuring its storage or transport conditions do not jeopardise its compliance with the essential requirements; and
  • When appropriate and with regard to the risks presented: (i) carry out sample testing, (ii) investigate complaints; (iii) keep registers for complaints, non-conforming radio equipment, and recalls; and (iv) keep distributors informed about the monitoring.

A distributor’s responsibilities include:

  • Acting with due care in relation to the requirements of RER; and
  • 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 radio 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/or importer
  • The type, batch or serial number, or other element allowing the identification of the radio equipment
  • The required conformity marking.

Distributor responsibilities include verifying the radio equipment bears the conformity marking, a type, batch or serial number, or other element allowing its identification; and the manufacturer and importer details.

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

In addition, proper instructions, safety information, and the Declaration of Conformity or the internet address at which the Declaration of Conformity can be accessed must accompany the radio equipment. A specific Declaration of Conformity that refers to UK legislation and standards will be required for products sold in GB with a UKCA mark from January 1, 2021. See the "Brexit: UK Government guidance" section below for links to the UK Government guidance on this.

Where applicable, information available on the packaging must allow the identification of the any geographical area where restrictions on putting into service or requirements for authorisation of use exist.

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.

Registration

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, the UK may introduce a requirement for manufacturers to register radio equipment types that fall within certain categories of radio equipment that are affected by a low level of compliance with the essential requirements of RER. In which case, the allocated registration number should be affixed to the radio equipment.

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 electrical equipment is not in conformity with RER?

When radio equipment does not conform with RER, manufacturers, importers, and distributors should immediately take the corrective measures necessary to bring radio equipment into conformity, to withdraw or to recall it, as appropriate.

When radio equipment presents a risk, manufacturers, importers, and distributors should immediately inform Trading Standards (or HSE where the equipment is for use at work) giving details of the non-conformity and of any corrective measures taken.

Manufacturers, importers, and distributors must provide the competent UK authority with all the information and documentation in paper or electronic form necessary to demonstrate the conformity of the radio equipment with RER 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, 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 strongly encourage you to review guidance on RER provided by the UK Government Office for Product Safety and Standards:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/radio-equipment-regulations-2017

We also encourage you to visit the UK’s 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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