Firms holding virgin HCFC cylinders after the December 31 phase-out deadline are set to face increasingly heavy charges as the industry starts to clamp down on illegal use of the gas.
Refrigerant distributors and wholesalers are to meet to devise a government-backed protocol for the return of the virgin HCFC cylinders from early in the new year.
The protocol was conceived by government backed F-Gas Support at RAC’s Round Table last month as a way of reducing the chances of firms illegally using virgin R22 next year, either deliberately or accidentally.
F-Gas Support director Ray Gluckman said: “There is nothing illegal about holding the virgin cylinder, but it would not be logical as you are not allowed to use the gas. To a degree we can knock that problem on the head if the suppliers were to say ‘we would charge x pounds for a cylinder - or we take you to court. F Gas support will be a hundred per cent behind industry in trying to agree a ‘call-back protocol’. We should be encouraging the call-backs in January. We could say to the industry, look there is a massive percentage not returned yet and we recommend to Defra that they police it harder.”
The protocol is likely to coincide with heavy return fees or rental charges. Distributors could not agree fees in the protocol under price-fixing rules but they believe that hitting people in their pockets is the only way to prevent apathy.
Mel Bridges, managing director of IDS Refrigeration said: “Charging an extra ten or twenty quid has not had much impact. Charges may have to treble or quadruple.”
You can read the full debate in the september issue of RAC magazine