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ACRIB urges industry to answer F-Gas consultation call

THE ACR industry is being asked to help establish an effective UK registration scheme, by responding to DEFRA's F-Gas consultation.
ACRIB urges industry to answer F-Gas consultation call
DEFRA wants feedback on draft legislation proposals for a UK registration scheme which will impact on the 5,000 firms and 35,000 individuals working with F-Gas refrigerants.

On August 5 ACRIB, the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board, urged the industry to help shape a rigorous company and individual registration scheme by taking part in the consultation before the October 3 deadline.

The current UK voluntary company registration scheme is managed REFCOM and an individual scheme is managed by ACRIB.

ACRIB argues DEFRA's final decision on which organisation to appoint to run a mandatory scheme in February 2009 and the push for the scheme to be running by July 4, 2009 is only practical if the government appoints these two bodies. ACRIB says 'No other bodies have the past experience and understanding of the RAC sector to be able to satisfy the requirements of the regulations in the time available.'

ACRIB supports a well-integrated company registration scheme with regular audits, which is renewable every 3-5 years. It supports:-

1) Accurate up to date records of individuals and firms to prevent fraudalent practices and use of forged certificates.

2) A single central database for use by end users, employers and enforcement agencies to check the status of those working in the industry.

3) A clear communication route to the industry to ensure they are up to date with any changes in refrigerant handling legislation.

ACRIB wants industry to give their support for such a company registration scheme which is backed up with a single source individual registration scheme.

'Whilst it is likely to cost us in this industry up to £35 million in training fees, government is hesitating to specify the rigorous management structures which will be needed to ensure that everyone complies with these requirements', said Mel Bridges , chairman of the ACRIB education and training committee.

He added 'This is not acceptable. For a small cost of up to £70,000 to introduce mandatory individual registration and an additional £35,000 for a more rigorous company registration, we can be reassured that the costs are shared by everyone, not just those responsible companies and individuals who would comply anyway'.

DEFRA estimates the financial benefits of compliance with F-Gas regulations will total £257 million (resulting from savings derived from reduced leakage and improved energy efficiency).

Having pored over the consultation document (launched on July 11), ACRIB has highlighted some key points for the industry to respond to.

Mike Nankivell, the chairman of ACRIB's F-Gas implementation group said 'Questions 15,16,19 and 20 in the consultation document are crucial. We need a strong and concerted message from industry if an integrated company and individual registration scheme is to be achieved'.

'Without an appropriate steer from industry in response to this consultation, we will find ourselves subject to a series of bureaucratic, ineffective and impractical solutions', added Nankivell.

This consultation is available on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/fgas-ozone/

ACRIB has produced a template for industry professionals to respond to the consultation, which will be available to download at www.acrib.org.uk Consultation responses must be sent to fgas@defra.gsi.gov.uk

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