24 July 2018

FETA welcomes government response to EAC F-Gas report

The Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) has welcomed the government’s response to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) report on the UK’s progress on reducing F-Gas emissions, but has highlighted areas where it believes greater effort can be made in tackling non-compliance.

FETA was supportive of the EAC’s inquiry, which took a close look at how the challenge of F-Gas emission reduction in the post-Brexit context should best be dealt with.

In its report, the EAC asked the government how it would ensure with HMRC that there are no weaknesses in the F-Gas regime both now and after the UK leaves the EU.

Russell Beattie, chief executive of FETA, said: “FETA supports the government line that broad adherence with the EU-derived F-Gas Regulation is the most sensible way forward in the context of Brexit. The application of the F-Gas quota, applying as it does to companies and not nations, is already a challenging enough prospect and adding extra complexity by the UK embarking on a different set of rules would be unwise.”

However, while the government’s response showed willingness to work with industry on training, FETA believes it lacks conviction, and that only mandatory qualifications offer any real prospect of immediate impact and enduring success.

The EAC was keen for the government to encourage the use of low GWP refrigerants in heat pumps by reforming the renewable heat incentive schemes. The government accepted that heat pumps play an increasingly important environmental role but argued that the F-Gas quota cuts were already driving industry to look for low GWP alternatives for heat pumps. It felt that any additional measures to reduce the use of high GWP refrigerants must not hinder heat pump uptake, as that would be counter-productive for the environment.

In response, Mr Beattie commented: “We were encouraged to note the support being offered in terms of working with industry to reduce the barriers to the use of low GWP refrigerants in heat pumps, but would make the additional observation that this also needs to apply to other sectors, such as air conditioning and refrigeration.”

The UK industry has been pro-active in dealing with issues stemming from the changes brought by the F-Gas Regulations, and has worked closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Environment Agency (EA) and stands ready to offer further support.

FETA hopes to see both departments given greater prioritisation for resources by central government, and, in the interim, will continue to highlight blatant infringements of regulations, particularly by online retailers.


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