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Contractors urge the EC to tighten up on F-Gas

RAC contractors have called on the European Commission to tighten up the F-Gas Regulation by banning flare

They also want pre-charged split air conditioning systems to come under the scope of the legislation.

The Commission is expected to announce that the Regulation, which has been in force since 2007, has so far cut annual European emissions by around 10 million tonnes - but contractors feel this reduction should have been much higher.

“The reduction is encouraging and proves that F-Gas works,” said Graeme Fox, who last month was elected president of the European contractors’ body AREA.

“However, enforcement has been patchy at best and there are still gaping loopholes in the legislation that would allow us to make even greater progress.”

The group is lobbying for the Regulation to be recast when it is officially reviewed by the EC next July to include the banning of flare nuts, which are blamed for around 20 per cent of all refrigerant leakage.

They are also calling for pre-charged split systems to come under scope. Currently, all systems containing less than 3 kg of refrigerant charge are outside the scope of the Regulation. But many contractors are unhappy that a
number of products have appeared on the market with 2.9 kg of charge, apparently in a bid to get around the Regulation.

Mr Fox said: “The issue is that many of these pre-charged units will just be scrapped when they come to be replaced, so the gas will be released to the atmosphere. That is certainly against the spirit of the Regulation.

“Ten million tonnes of leaks prevented is a lot, but we could have done so much better,” added Scott Gleed, new chairman of the HVCA’s rac group, which represents UK contractors.

“The UK government needs to get serious about enforcement. There are firms out there flouting the regulations and some of the training standards are very lax - we particularly need to improve brazing standards. If these loopholes are closed, just think what we could achieve.”

Disposable refrigerant cylinders were banned when the Regulation came into full force last year; and the labelling of all HFC refrigerant gas cylinders became mandatory.

The F-Gas Regulation also applies strict rules for the containment and monitoring of all equipment with the potential to leak global warming gases into the atmosphere.

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