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Legislation in a post-Brexit landscape

30 September 2021

Post-Brexit, we are in a new legislative framework. Here, Vanda Jones looks at some of the early opportunities for the manufacturing community, and some of the changed priorities for businesses placing goods on the UK market and working within the health and safety arena.

This new new legislative framework brings changed responsibilities and new opportunities to influence the shape of legislation that impacts our industries

Replacement of CE marking with UKCA marking:

This is a mark that recognises conformity to legislation and for many manufacturers has been one of the early challenges.

Preparing for the changes that were originally planned for the end of 2021 presented both cost and logistical challenges. Through our association with the Engineering and Machinery Alliance (EAMA) and other bodies, we lobbied for delayed implementation and are pleased to report that this has been successful. You can read about this in the article by Tim Preece, BCAS technical officer, later in this publication.

Eco Design / Energy related products:

We have written previously about the ongoing work in Europe regarding lot 31 of the Eco design legislation, which covered standard compressed air, low pressure and oil free technologies. BCAS and its members have spent years and some significant investment in lobbying and providing the study writers with an understanding of our technologies.

This work has been undertaken through a joint working group with our European sister association, Pneurop – and we are able to report that the lot 31 proposal will not move forward into European Legislation at this time; the European commission citing lack of resource and low potential energy savings as reasons.

We now have a further challenge in the UK with the Energy Related Products initiative and a report prepared for BEIS by the consultants ICF. Annexes 8,9 and 10 cover these technologies and look at potential energy savings and product labelling benefits that may be available with compressor technologies.

BCAS, and its members, have been involved in providing information and are pleased that the final study report, which is now available on the ICF project site, reflects some of the considerations put forward by the team. This will be a project that BCAS will be following closely, as it has direct implications for many of the industrial product ranges of our members.

OPSS call for evidence – Reform of product safety regulations and enforcement:

This call for evidence has potential impact on important pieces of legislation such as the UK equivalents to the Machinery Directive and the Pressure Equipment Directive to name just two. The study has looked at areas including ease of understanding of the current framework, product safety regulations strengthening or improvement, targeting of the regulations, new models of supply, new product lifecycles and enforcement considerations.

Once again, an industry team including BCAS was drawn together and a submission made, including input from EURIS to provide a broader, collective view of our sector. We keenly await the outputs of this regulation review.

Elsewhere, there are ongoing reviews around personal protective equipment (PPE) and we await an F-Gas legislation call for evidence.

In conclusion

The review of our legislative and safety arena post Brexit continues at pace, giving opportunity for improvement and challenge to the existing framework.

The potential for divergence from European legislation, either by deliberate change to UK legislation, European review and update or just through a drifting of our alignment is clear. This is not to judge the perceived rights or wrongs of the situation, but more a signal to manufacturers to appreciate that we are currently in a position of influence and must use this time to work with government to impact our future landscape positively.

Looking to the past and reiterating the ‘no divergence’ message will not alter the pace of change. As a colleague commented last week, we are ‘in this now’ – so let’s move forward to help influence safety and energy efficiency improvements and take our industrial partners on the journey with us.

Vanda Jones is executive director at the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS)