Close cooperation is needed to meet Net Zero goals

Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) chairman Paul White says the body plans to continue working closely with its membership and government as this will be crucial to meeting the challenges of Net Zero.

Mr White was addressing guests at the annual FETA luncheon held at The Brewery in London this month.

He said: “The UK must see significant change for both product and policy makers but if we can get it right, we can show the world how Net Zero can be achieved and collaborate with other nations to achieve the global goal.

“The Net Zero and Heat and Buildings Strategies have set out a strong ambition for the UK and it is incumbent on us, as industry, to bring about change in the market to reduce our carbon emissions to Net Zero.

“Alongside this, we have the immediate challenges of a world economy that is restarting, probably quicker than most expected. This has caused supply problems on a number of fronts and could result in a recession caused by constraints in supply, rather than demand.

“Our modern supply chains make exposure to this type of problem more prominent, and lean, and just in time, supply chains mean less stocks and therefore longer lead-times. There are also cost issues, as they are raised in response to demand and lack of availability.

Mr White also addressed the issue of UKCA/UKNI marking, the UK equivalent to CE Mark, which he said had presented challenges to manufacturers.

Recently FETA, through its membership of Actuate UK, secured an extension to the implementation of this mark. While there are still challenges to be resolved, FETA will work with other member companies of Actuate UK and FETA membership to find practical solutions.

The UK is also set to see its own version of Energy-Related Products Directive, developed to reduce emissions from our members products.

Mr White said: “This will present challenges for our industry as the UK and EU possibly go on different paths to achieve Net Zero goals.

“What industry needs most, is to keep product standards the same across the EU and UK. This is because many manufacturers design and provide the products across the whole market as both exports and imports. This is likely to be a key focus for FETA in 2022 as the Government starts to roll out its ideas.

FETA has also been active in discussions on other fronts including the latest consultations on Building Regulations for England, Scotland and Wales.

“We have been active in directives that are being formulated in Europe and followed by the UK such as the Fluorinated gases (or F-gases) review. These are used in a range of industrial applications, but they have a particularly powerful warming effect when released into the atmosphere.

“We have also seen Building Safety become even more important with the Bill currently going through Committee Stage and it is, rightly, going to hold our sector to account following the awful tragedy in June 2017 to deliver safer construction in all areas.

“Two of our safety-critical groups (ADCAS representing the ductwork sector and the Smoke Control Association within HEVAC), have been fully engaged in working on this. Indeed the Smoke Control Association have been an exemplar as they have on their own initiative set about raising the bar in terms of standards and behaviours.

“Proof of competency is going to become very high profile in both the short and long term. People offering training must be able to demonstrate their own competency in be able to deliver that training successfully for the specific subject. Anyone can attend training. Putting that training effectively to work is another matter. Competency is the demonstration of the ability to do a task successfully. Attending training does not make a person competent, only proving ability and experience after training does that. This needs to be assessed by people who have the competency to assess the particular task. This may be via some sort of exam, but there must also be an assessment of actual ability “on the job”.

“But a recognised piece of paper will be required, probably supported by some sort of card similar or parallel to the CSCS and Skillcards of today.

“Many of you know that I major in fire safety for ventilation and smoke control, but these are not the only areas that are under scrutiny.

“Our industry, in general, is under a spotlight in this regard, because along the way, many of our trades, products and designs may affect building safety if done incorrectly.”

Mr White also paid tribute to Mike Nankivell, who was awarded an OBE in June this year for services to the UK refrigeration and air conditioning industry and to past chief executive Russell Beattie who recently retired. He also welcome new chief executive Chris Yates.

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