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Defra to step up UK F-Gas enforcement action

Recent talks between Refcom and the government focused on the potential impacts of Brexit have noted ongoing efforts to try and tackle the illegal trade of refrigerants in the country

Refcom has said a focus on ensuring compliance across the UK with F-Gas regulations, as well as the potential implications on the cooling industry from ongoing uncertainty around Brexit were among key topics of recent discussions with government.

The industry certification body said it met with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on February 6 to discuss the government’s recently stated commitment to ensuring ongoing compliance with the EU’s flagship legislation on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

The talks also focused on how industry and government could better support each other in ensuring a successful long-term shift away from higher-GWP refrigerant with some post-Brexit quotas having already been clarified with certified suppliers.

Defra said in a statement, “As previously advised, the implementation of the F-Gas Regulations will continue exactly as it is at present after the UK leaves the EU on March 29 this year.”

“All existing certification will remain valid and the UK intends to continue recognising certificates issued in other EU member states prior to the leave date.”

Refcom said that talks were ongoing between UK officials based at Defra and counterparts at the Department of Communication, Climate Action & Environment - in Dublin, as well as with the Commission representatives at DG Clima in Brussels, on retaining reciprocal agreements on F-Gas in the long-term.

The certification body noted that existing phase down targets such as an upcoming ban on some higher GWP products for certain uses remained in place, even in the case of a failure to reach an agreement on Brexit next month.

Refcom said it was working to continue to support Defra on dealing with the implications of Brexit for the cooling industry.

This focus included recent steps to shut down illegal sales of refrigerant, such as by removing illegal disposable bottle sales from market. Other initiatives include focusing on sellers that are failing to check compliance as is required.

The group said, “Both Refcom and Defra appreciate there is still a long way to go on this but we are heading in the right direction and we will continue to work together in improving this further as we move forward.”

Defra also confirmed to the group that the department was in the process of expanding its workforce resources to try and tackle ongoing concerns over F-Gas compliance in the country.

The meeting was held shortly before the government announced the launch of a new online system to ensure the UK maintains current restrictions on the use of F-Gases post-Brexit. This system will apply even in the event that the UK fails to reach any withdrawal agreement with the EU

Refcom said that any business wishing to import of place any F-Gas or ODS products on the market should use the online tool to register for future quota.

The organisation said, “This system will allow businesses to register, apply for a UK quota, transfer and authorise HFC quota, report on usage, and apply for ODS licences where applicable.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • How can we stop illegal trade on something legal to use? need to use? no safety guidelines or building regulation for so-called LGWP?
    Installers and end users are to blame?
    Europe is being used (again) as a guinea pig testing grounds between South East Asia and the North Americas? while the rest of the world still uses HCFC22? and until 2030!!!!. We can handle the best of both worlds? Neil Afram

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