Trade association welcomes government response to Environmental Audit Committee report but says it ‘lacks conviction’ on emissions reduction
Trade body FETA, which counts cooling and heating associations among its members, has welcomed the government’s response to the Environmental Audit Committee report on the UK’s progress on reducing F-gas emissions, but has highlighted areas where it believes greater effort can be made in tackling non-compliance.
FETA was supportive of the EAC’s inquiry, which took a close look at how the challenge of F-gas emission reductions should best be dealt with post-Brexit, having provided both written and oral evidence. In its report, the EAC asked the government how it would ensure, together with tax authority HMRC, that there are no weaknesses in the F-gas regime now and after the UK leaves the EU.
Chief Executive Russell Beattie said: “FETA supports the government line that broad adherence with the EU-derived F-Gas Regulation is the most sensible way forward in the context of BREXIT. The application of the F-gas quota, applying as it does to companies and not nations, is already a challenging enough prospect and adding extra complexity by the UK embarking on a different set of rules would be unwise.”
However, while the government’s response showed willingness to work with industry on training, FETA believes it lacks conviction, and that only mandatory qualifications offer any real prospect of immediate impact and enduring success.
The EAC was keen for the government to encourage the use of low-GWP refrigerants in heat pumps by reforming the renewable heat incentive schemes. The government accepted that heat pumps play an increasingly important environmental role but argued that the F-gas quota cuts were already driving industry to look for low-GWP alternatives for heat pumps.
In response, Russell Beattie said: “We were encouraged to note the support being offered…but would make the additional observation that this also needs to apply to other sectors, such as air conditioning and refrigeration.”
He added that the UK cooling industry has been proactive in dealing with the issues brought about by F-Gas and has worked closely with Defra and the Environmenta Agency and that it ’stands ready to offer further support’. But he noted that FETA would like to see both these departments given greater prioritisation for resources by central Government. In the interim, FETA will continue to highlight blatant infringements of regulations, particularly by online retailers, he said.
- See the August issue of RAC for the views of head of Refcom Graeme Fox on what the government needs to do next on F-Gas.