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. FETA provided both written and oral evidence and noted the outcome with great interest. In its report, the EAC asked the government how it would ensure with HMRC that there are no weaknesses in the F-gas regime 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, Russell 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.”
UK industry has been proactive in dealing with the issues stemming from the changes brought about by the F-gas Regulation and has worked closely with DEFRA and the EA and stands ready to offer further support. FETA would like to see both departments given greater prioritisation for resources by Central Government. In the interim, FETA will continue to highlight blatant infringements of regulations, particularly by online retailers.