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Govt consults over whether F-Gas should be tougher: UPDATE

Environmental Audit Committee will look at current effectiveness of F-Gas reduction efforts in the UK and consult on post-Brexit laws

The Government’s Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into national efforts to curb F-Gas emissions will look at making the rules tougher for refrigerant handling and recording.

The Committee will also look at whether the UK’s exit from the EU will require new laws to be drawn up and will consider whether there is a better body to police F-Gas than the current Environment Agency/local Trading Standards collaboration.

A key question asked by the inquiry is: Should the UK go beyond EU regulatory minimums and develop stronger F-gas legislation?

Stakeholders are being asked to provide evidence on these topics, to be no more than 3,000 words, by November 6.

Committee chair Mary Creagh said: “The UK’s F-Gas reduction targets are set and monitored by the EU. With Brexit looming, businesses need clarity on how the UK will reduce F-Gas emissions and on who will ensure the government meets its targets.”

The committee is calling for evidence from stakeholders on a number of issues including whether the country should look beyond existing regulatory minimums to curb gas output set out by the EU, as well as looking at how current regulations can best be incorporated into UK law post-Brexit.

The EAC noted that despite a reduction in F-Gas emissions from 1997 to 2001, increasing use of the substances for purposes such as refrigeration and air conditioning has seen their use rising. In a key statement the Committee noted that if the regulations were working ’as intended’, the UK is still on track.

The EAC said in a statement: “The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) monitors progress on reducing F-Gas emissions. Its latest analysis suggests that UK emissions have not fallen at the rate expected, though their modelling suggests that if the EU F-Gas Regulation works as intended the UK is still in line with targets.” 

The Questions asked by the EAC:

Administrative, Policy and Regulatory Implications of EU Withdrawal

  • After leaving the EU, which UK body should have oversight of adherence to F-gas legislation and will it be adequately resourced to ensure compliance?
  • Will the UK need to create new infrastructure to replicate relevant EU institutions, expertise and research that focus on reducing F-gas emissions?
  • After leaving the EU, would relying on the Montreal Protocol alone lower UK ambitions to reduce F-gas emissions and is the UK’s enforcement regime strong enough to ensure compliance?
  • As the UK leaves the EU, how will the Government ensure certainty regarding its obligations to the Montreal Protocol as an individual signatory outside of the EU bloc?
  • How will UK businesses and consumers be affected?

     Progress on Reducing F-gas Emissions

  • Is the Government doing enough to reduce F-gases?
  • Are there blockers preventing adoption of existing alternatives to F-gases and is there potential to develop new cost-effective replacements?
  • What policies should the Government bring forward to reduce F-gas emissions?

Speaking to RAC in our first CoolingCast earlier this month, Graeme Fox, new head of Refcom discussed the importance of taking into account any eventual ‘Brexit deal’ between the UK and EU in determining how F-Gas use would continue to be phased down.

“It’s previously been said that the biggest issue with the Brexit deal as far as F-Gas is concerned is the [phase down] quota. Because the quota, which is written in stone in the F-Gas regulations with the phase down, is based on the single market,” Mr Fox said. “So with the assumption post-Brexit that we will no longer be part of that single market, the argument and discussion I had with the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) recently was about whether we are still include in phase down terms as part of the single market. Alternatively, does the EC revisit its calculation for the volume on the single market and it only relates to what is left of the single market without the UK portion?”

The full interview can be heard by clicking on the media player below.

Source: RAC Magazine

 

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