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New FETA chair braces for “significant” 12 months in cooling

Mark Woods has taken up chairman role at FETA at a time where the cooling sector faces major challenges in moving towards alternative refrigerants and preparing for an uncertain Brexit

FETA has appointed current British Refrigeration Association (BRA) president Mark Woods as its new chairman in a move expected to build on the group’s ongoing work to address environmental and Brexit concerns.

Mr Woods, who is replacing Nick Howlett as the organisation’s chair, said the association has already been actively involved in ensuring sufficient industry guidance is in place to support a greater switch towards refrigerants with some low level of flammability - classed as A2L products.

He added that FETA had formed a special working group focused on adopting lower flammability refrigerant. These A2L products are seen as a possible major step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions by switching form non-flammable, higher GWP gas that has previously been favoured by industry.

Mr Woods said, “FETA more recently has developed – in collaboration with the IOR – guidance on risk assessments required for compliance with UK law. FETA was also actively involved, via ACRIB, in the development of the new flammable refrigerant training course.”

The appointment of a new chairman for the association has occurred at a particularly challenge time for industry, not least with the large number of consequences expected as a result of further uncertainty over the UK’s delayed exit from the EU that is currently scheduled for October 31.

Mr Woods said that a failure after more than three years to agree on the country’s preferred approach and direction to reframe its legislative alignment, standards and trading agreements with the EU risked significant damage to industry.

He said, “The issue of regulations and standards is very important because, whilst the standards bodies themselves are unaffected by Brexit, the outcomes of Brexit may have an effect and it remains important for the UK to be well represented. I am proud that FETA, as a nominating body, has over 50 members on 95 committees representing UK interests.”

The new FETA chair said he expected the organisation to face a “very significant” 12 months ahead in responding to the challenges posed by recent commitments by the UK government to achieve net zero carbon emissions nationally by 2050. He said that net zero stance, which has now been signed into law, opened up a range of options to promote heat pump technology that is already on the market as a means of rethinking HVACR functions.

FETA has also been invited to play a role in an upcoming review of Building Regulations as part of a collaboration with CIBSE.

This focus to help redefine key building standards will build on the association’s involvement in the now-published Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety that was overseen by Dame Judith Hackitt. Mr Woods said that the publication of the Hackitt report last year was of significant relevance to FETA members, citing the work of its fire safety focused groups such as SCA and ADCAS.

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