Labour MP Clive Efford has introduced a Bill to force “large supermarkets” to end the use of HFCs. The ten-minute bill, tabled in March is unlikely to pass into law, but Mr Efford said he had brought the Bill in order to draw attention to the huge carbon cost of using HFCs.
The Bill builds on an Early Day Motion tabled by Mr Efford, MP for Eltham, south-east London, which has been signed by 60 MPs.
He said; “Supermarkets are moving faster than the government and my Bill is intended to get them to regulate in this area.”
Proposing the Bill in Parliament, Mr Efford said: “There is little to suggest that current EU and UK legislation in this field has encouraged supermarkets to speed up the process of eradicating HFCs in their stores and there is nothing in EU regulation to prevent the government regulating.”
He said that the ban could achieve significant carbon reductions: “Phasing out HFCs in supermarkets has the potential to save 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent between now and 2050. This is equivalent to a quarter of the UK’s annual carbon dioxide emissions.”
In supporting the sentiment, fellow MP Lembit Opik called on the supermarkets to commit to a date for phasing out HFCs. He said: “Supermarkets ought to be
making a formal statement about a date. In my view if no action is taken unilaterally by the supermarkets without this legislation, we cannot accept their claims that they take the environment seriously.”
Mr Efford told RAC: “My ideal would be for enviornment secretary Hillary Benn to tell me he takes this seriously and to agree to meet. I hope if nothing else, we can get the government and industry to sit down and talk, to start a discussion.
“Previously the government has said it can’t legislate independently within the EU but we think it can revisit this.”
Mr Efford was invited by environmental lobbyists the EIA to view the current state of technology at Marks & Spencer’s Westfield store, which is running a CO2 system with R407a. M&S Refrigerant Technologist Bob Arthur said that the retailer had announced a 2030 date for being out of HFCs - somewhat slower than the 2015 the EIA is seeking - “I think it is important to stress that you can’t have a one size fits all policy with refrigerants” he said, “We wouldn’t have the physics in the industry to enable everyone to move out of HFCs by 2015.”
Mr Efford said he backed calls to support training for working with alternative refrigerants. “It is an opportunity to have a new set of skills and to create green jobs.”