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Secure low GWP gas supply among FETA Brexit cooling concerns

Industry body calls for five-year transition to post-EU arrangements to better prepare UK business for regulatory and market overhauls

FETA has identified ensuring a continued supply of refrigerants and mirroring commitments to European F-Gas regulations as major concerns for the UK cooling industry as talks continue over defining the country’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

FETA, which represents refrigeration, air conditioning and building services suppliers, said it was already in discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on how best to secure sufficient amounts of less carbon intensive gases for cooling purposes outside the EU.

“The UK will have to set in place some kind of quota mechanism to ensure members can access the new low GWP gases,” said a spokesperson for the organisation.

The comments have been made as the broader UK business community this week called on the government to ensure a more extended transition period for leaving the EU to better prepare for life outside the bloc.

FETA said that with its members expected to continue to need to sell and rely on the EU even after the Brexit, highlighting the importance of continued operation in line with the bloc’s standards was also vital.

A spokesperson for the association claimed it would therefore offer members access and support in meeting these standards via its relationship with European groups such as AREA and EVIA once no longer in the EU.

However, FETA also expressed concern about potential challenges in importing pre-charged equipment into the country in line with the current EU F-Gas regulations.

“The UK will need to mirror this aspect of the regulation to ensure we control F Gases which enter the UK by this route. Where possible, the UK will need to mirror EU regulation in this area,” said the association.

Transition talks 

Earlier this week, the European Union Relationship and Industrial Strategy (EURIS) taskforce, which counts FETA among its members, called on the government to secure an extended five-year Brexit transition period as opposed to the 24 month formal period that commenced earlier this year.

The taskforce argued that an exteneded timeline would be vital to allow industry and manufacturers to better prepare for any significant changes to technical regulations that could result from no longer being an EU member state.

“This extended period beyond March 2019, would allow industry to keep existing EU customers and give manufacturers time to develop new relationships and solutions with respect to the comprehensive and complex nature of European legislation and related standards,” said the organisation.

EURIS was responding to a speech delivered by Prime Minister Theresa May to the CBI conference where she set out aims to agree a “strictly time-limited implementation period” with the EU to allow British business to better prepare for regulatory and market access changes.

 “During this period our access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms, and I want us to agree the detailed arrangements for this period as early as possible,” said the prime minister. “But we should also be able to develop our relationships with countries outside the EU in new ways, including through our own trade negotiations around the world.”

She added that it remained Whitehall’s intention to give the business community more specific details on the length of any amended transition period as soon as possible, although no timeline has been set for when a decision may be reached due to ongoing discussions with the EU.

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