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Refcom welcomes parliament committee’s F-Gas concerns

Association praises Environmental Audit Committee for taking on board its safety and regulatory concerns over limited enforcement of major EU legislation

Refcom has welcomed recent findings from parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) that are critical of the country’s progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fucntions such as cooling.

Refcom head Graeme Fox said the cross-party committee had in its conclusions taken on the concerns submitted by the association as written evidence. Mr Fox also provided these warnings to the MPs during a face-to-face meeting late last year.

Refcom highlighted conclusions by the EAC about how regulatory body the Environment Agency was under resourced to enforce the EU F-Gas regulations that are intended to curb use of higher GWP gas for refrigerants in favour of cleaner alternatives. The association noted that the grouping of MPs has also backed its concerns about there being a single prosecution for failing to meet legislative requirements, despite “large levels of non-compliance”.

Mr Fox also welcomed the EAC’s shared concerns over the safety implications of the use of lower GWP flammable gas by unqualified installers.

He said, “The committee picked up on our concerns around the issue of people using flammable refrigerants to top up systems not designed for their use. It acknowledged that the use of refrigerants with lower global warming potential often has a trade off in terms of safety and efficiency.”

“The EAC agreed with us that the government must now urgently consult with industry to ensure the workforce is properly trained and upskilled to deal with the roll out of flammable (and mildly flammable) alternative refrigerants.”

The committee’s findings, released last month, called on the government to provide extended resources for the monitoring of the illegal sale, use and handling of F-Gas. It has also backed continued adherence to European regulation focused on cutting out using F-Gas products for purposes such as air conditioning.

The findings also examined EU F-Gas regulation and the potential impact of the UK withdrawing from the regime as part of the Brexit process, as well as the implications for reaching wider trade agreements in future from failing to ensure continued compliance.

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