UK: The European F-gas revision proposal to ban pre-charged air conditioning and refrigeration equipment has created a difference of opinion amongst UK stakeholders. MP Richard Benyon's statement yesterday that government had concerns whether the proposed ban would have a disproportionate effect on the industry is a reflection of lobbying by both contractors and equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
While the UK air conditioning and refrigeration industry traditionally tends to speak with a unified voice on these matters, the proposed pre-charged equipment ban has created opposing views. AREA, the body representing European contractors are very much in favour of a ban, the UK manufacturers group FETA being against such a proposal.
Reacting to Monday's statement by Mr Benyon, Cedric Sloan, director general of FETA, said: "FETA members share the concern over intrusive bans, such as the one on pre-charging."
On the whole, FETA welcomed the content of the minister's statement: "At this stage in the negotiations between member states and the European Commission, this is a very welcome and balanced position for the lead UK government department to be taking," he said.
Graeme Fox, president of AREA, said: "From a contractors' perspective, while the ban on pre-charging may have a small effect on costs, this should be at least partially offset by an increase in business due to the unregulated and uncertified sector being unable to commission systems any longer.
"AREA has long called for better regulation to provide the responsible contractors' with a level playing field. We do not see this move as "further regulation", rather it is a tweaking of the existing regulation to make it workable," he added.
The contractors' body believes that the supply of equipment uncharged would ensure that potentially environmentally damaging gases are not handled by people who are not competent to do so and that true measurements of gas quantities in the market can be readily made.
"Both of these points are already a legal requirement under the existing regulation but are difficult, if not impossible, to comply with or police effectively," said Graeme Fox.