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EIA urges stricter timeline for HFC cooling equipment bans

Campaign group says amendments for bringing forward equipment bans under F-Gas would not realistically happen until 2022 review, yet UK could take a more immediate stand on heat pumps

The EIA campaign group hopes to see the UK take an even stricter approach to curbing use of certain HFC refrigerant in the next few years beyond current F-Gas requirements.

This approach could potentially include bringing forward bans on equipment that makes use of some HFCs to try and push industry towards refrigerant with lower GWP, according to campaigners.

Calls for a rethink of national refrigerant policy follow recent concerns raised by the Committee on Climate Change about the UK being behind schedule to meet successive national carbon reduction targets.  This shortfall applies both to the recent commitment to become a net zero carbon economy by 2050, as well as previous less intensive targets to realise an 80 per cent cut to 1990 emissions over the same time period.

The EIA has argued in response to the recent CCC concerns that F-Gas commitments should not be ignored by industry and policy makers when considering new methods to try and tackle climate change.

Clare Perry, climate campaign leader with the EIA, said that any effort to amend F-Gas regulation to rethink existing timelines to ban certain equipment using HFCs would not realistically be considered until the next scheduled review of the EU legislation in 2022.

Ms Perry said that there was potential for a possible heat pump ban for certain equipment in advance of the major EU F-Gas review. The EIA added that the notion of banning some heat pumps had been raised with parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee last year.

The organisation said it would continue to lobby the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) over focusing on bans of equipment.

In a statement released last week, the EIA noted criticism from the CCC that government had failed to set out clear plans on restricting use of F-Gas products to functions where there were no other alternatives to HFCs.

The campaign group said at the time, “These bans on seriously damaging refrigerants should be brought forward, especially for commercial refrigeration where myriad alternatives exist and have been widely rolled out in the UK.

“Bringing forward the 2022 bans on HFCs in new commercial refrigeration would have a huge impact on the overall emissions from supermarkets.”

Allowing for products such as heat pumps that make use of HFCs, as opposed to lower GWP refrigerant, to be included in funding support mechanisms such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) programme was identified by the EIA as a particular concern around current UK F-Gas policy.

Support should instead be focused on alternatives such as natural refrigerant that could be used in heat pump products, the group argued.

EIA climate campaigner Sophie Geoghegan said the UK government must now back up its commitments to net zero carbon emissions with “concrete plans” to curb output form functions such as cooling and refrigerant use.

She said, “Fast action on eliminating the powerful greenhouse gases used in the cooling sector would set the UK on the right path.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • This request is on the assumption that whatever refrigerant to replacing the Hi GWP needs to be in line with HSE guidelines as I believe there is considerable confusion regarding replacement with LGWP. There are two types of LGWP refrigerants, Flammable (or mild ...) which there is no government or HSE guidelines (as in France for example) and NON-Flammable which already has guidelines and has over 20 years experience and over 45000 engineers certified. Need also to be clear regarding the incorrect claims regarding Flammable LGWP as being environmentally friendly! This is true IF it LEAKS, but nobody talks about if flammable leaks and causes fire it can kill and the fire causes more environmental damage than non-flammable?. We need to force the government to create more understanding, clarity and safe products than just listening to manufacturers of both Chemical and equipment. The F-Gas regulation is quite clear on the timing and exemptions.https://www.spaceair.co.uk/uploads/files/VRF/R32/Extract%20Ban%20on%20F-gas%20gov_uk.pdf
    The AC & Refrigeration industry are users of refrigerants not consumers i.e. we don't take leaks likely!

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