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Industry cautiously optimistic after F-Gas compromise

Despite fears of unachievable targets and costly changes, the industry has broadly welcomed the long-awaited revisions to the F Gas Regulation

Mike Nankivell, chairman of the ACRIB F Gas Implementation Group, said: “What makes the agreement so important is that it will allow legislators to move forward and provide certainty for the industry. With many end-users already facing difficult decisions about replacing R22 equipment and trying to decide on the best long-term solution for new equipment, a clear position from the EU on future availability of HFC refrigerants has got to be a good thing.”

The new Regulations are now expected by this summer and application by as soon as 2015, subject to approvals.

European manufacturers’ association EPEE also reacted positively to the revisions, though cautioned over the timeframes involved, calling on the industry plan immediately to avoid a skills gap.

Andrea Voigt EPEE director general, said: “EPEE is convinced that the phase-down will steer innovation and help industry move towards alternative solutions in a safe and efficient way.

“As to the phase-down, EPEE warns that industry should not wait until the last minute. If the phase-down is not correctly implemented right from the start in 2015, we will have a major problem, especially between 2017 and 2020, when we will have to reduce HFC consumption by 30 per cent within three years.”

However, Graeme Fox, president of contractor association AREA, has voiced concerns on the ban on the use of gases with a GWP higher than 750 in single split air conditioning systems containing less than 3 kgs of gas means, due to the potential switch to flammable refrigerants.

“In real terms this means that any AC unit with a duty up to around 14kW would no longer be able to use R410a, but would have to use the flammable R32 or worse.”

Depending on progress through the European institutions, DEFRA also intend to hold an open meeting in March/April this year to explain to interested stakeholders the key changes and their impacts, including how it will be working towards implementing these changes in the UK.

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