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Defra extends F-Gas discussion to two other parties

Quidos understood to be in running, but President-elect of HVCA elect calls the long-running registration process ‘atrocious’

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has told sister magazine H&V News it is in discussion with two other organisations to run the mandatory company registration scheme under the F-Gas regulation.

Any relevant air conditioning business not registered after 4 July will be committing an offence and could be subject to fines.

Defra has been in discussions with Refcom for months trying to thrash out a way of converting its voluntary company registration scheme to a mandatory scheme for all air conditioning installers.

A Defra spokesman said: “Discussions are at an advanced stage with Refcom but drawing to a close. We are also in discussion with two other parties, which we will continue even if discussions with Refcom are resolved successfully.”

Defra declined to name the two firms citing commercial sensitivity, although H&V News understands one firm is Quidos, which provides an accreditation scheme for building energy assessors including air conditioning inspectors.

Quidos declined to comment.

Speaking at the HVCA’s RAC group AGM, Graham Manly, president elect of HVCA articulated the industry’s frustration with the delay in finalising details of the company registration scheme with the July deadline looming.

“We’re a month away from every company which handles these gases needing to be registered and do not have a publicly recognised scheme.

“That is atrocious. I just hope that, in the end, sense will prevail and we will get a scheme that does what is needed.”

The HVCA said it will pay to fast-track HVCA members of Refcom to ensure they are granted interim certificates before the July deadline.

HVCA head of communications and public affairs Jack McDavid said he was not surprisd Defra was in discussion with other bodies. “But it is important that any organisation running the scheme does so to a satisfactory standard,” he said.

H&V News understands the main sticking point between Defra and Refcom during discussions has been Defra’s preference for a light touch scheme, while Refcom prefers a more robust approach, similar to its current voluntary scheme.