§ Mr. Lang
The Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Regulations, (Statutory Instrument 1992 No. 2372) implementing directive 89/336/EEC came into force on 1 January 1996. It is too early to assess their impact on industry in the United Kingdom, although an initial compliance cost assessment—CCA—estimated that between 2 and 5 per cent. could be added to design costs, this cost being lower as the proportion of designs which took account of EMC requirements from the outset increased. Manufacturers thus had a period of six years in which to design the necessary protection and immunity requirements into their products. By meeting the harmonised requirements and CE marking their products, manufacturers gain access to markets throughout the European economic area.
It is possible for most manufacturers to self-certify their products against a European harmonised standard. Testing is not mandatory except for apparatus designed for the transmission of radiocommunications. Manufacturers are free to judge for themselves the extent to which testing is necessary. If they decide to conduct minimal tests or none at all, they may need to incur some costs to satisfy the 497W enforcement authority that the product complies, if called upon to do so in the absence of a test report—but this applies to all firms across the EU.
Following an extensive awareness programme of seminars and publications between 1992 and 1995 my Department set up a telephone advice service at the beginning of this year, when the regulations came fully into force, to help to ensure that electrical and electronic equipment manufacturers had the most up-to-date information and guidance on specific queries relating to the legal, technical and standardisation aspects of the EMC legislation.