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21st April 2020 - back to news index

F-Gas Regulation Post-Brexit

If you use or work with refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment containing F-gas refrigerants, you may have been concerned about potential problems for the industry as a result of Brexit. REFCOM, the UK's largest F-gas register, says that "clarity and certainty" have now emerged from lengthy negotiations on this issue.

EU F-gas regulation 517/2014 must be complied with by firms working in or selling to EU member states, This controls the use and emission of fluorinated greenhouse gases, mainly Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) and Nitrogen Trifluoride. These greenhouse gases can stay in the atmosphere for centuries and be a significant contributory factor in global warming.

The legislation aims to reduce the EU's F-gas emissions by at least two-thirds in 2030 from its 2014 level. Current (2020) record-keeping requirements for operators of equipment containing larger quantities of F-gases apply to over 5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent or over 10 tonnes if hermetically sealed. British standards are acceptable under the revised F-gas Regulation.

If you are registered with REFCOM, the good news is that this will continue to be accepted throughout the EU, at least during the transition period. The EU and UK will still mutually accept each other's certification, so there will be no need to get separate F-gas accreditation to work in or with member states. REFCOM members will still get free service management software, exclusive access to technical help and all published guidelines, and reduced liability insurance premiums.

The head of REFCOM, Graeme Fox, emphasised the need for the cooling industry to be aware of this. He also said that "While Brexit heralds the start of a period of uncertainty for businesses, our industry is in the fortunate position of knowing exactly where we stand on professional certification." He stated that negotiations are ongoing, with hope of extending this recognition indefinitely.

Many British firms operate in other countries and this recognition of professional standards means that they can continue to work as normal, providing much needed clarity and continuation.

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