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Cooling bodies call for better enforcement of F-Gas rules to stop illegal trade

Bodies join forces to condemn growing illegal trade in refrigerants

EPEE, representing the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump industry in Europe, and three leading associations in the HVACR sector – EFCTC, AREA and ADC3R – have joined forces to call for a better enforcement of the EU F-Gas Regulation.

Olivier Janin, Secretary General of AREA, the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump contractors’ association, called for stricter government enforcement: “Authorities are ultimately responsible for the proper enforcement of the F-Gas Regulation and we call on all actors - including EU and National competent authorities - to also play their part in enforcing stricter controls at EU borders.”

In response to growing illegal trade of refrigerants, the associations have called on ‘all market players’ to only buy refrigerants from reputable sources..

They say ”Illegally imported refrigerant can present a major risk for the health and safety of installers and users and for the reliability of equipment. In case of accidents which may result from the use of unknown substances contained in illegally imported containers or cylinders, installers will ultimately be responsible.”

Andrea Voigt, Director General of Epee, said the cooling bodies felt they could not just stand by and watch the problem escalate.

She said: “We have supported the F-Gas Regulation and the transition towards lower GWP refrigerants right from the start. We cannot afford such loopholes in the implementation and lack of coordinated enforcement, especially now as the world has agreed on a global phase-down of HFCs under the Kigali Amendment, which will enter into force in those countries that have ratified it in less than three months.”

Illegal imports and consequent commercialisation of such refrigerants do not only pose a reliability and safety hazard but also put at risk the achievement of the ambitious goals set by the F-Gas Regulation, she added:

“There is no need for illegal imports - sustainable and lower GWP refrigerants and technologies are available today to contribute to meeting the requirements under the F-Gas Regulation.”

The European Commission is working on this issue of counterfeits as a priority and so the bodies have stated their intention to work with the EC over the coming months ’to help accelerate progress’. 

More on this in the November issue of RAC, out on Friday

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