UK: The Environment Agency (EA) could receive increased powers of prosecution following concerns of installations and refrigerant purchases by non-F-gas-certified companies.

Concerns over qualification and competence checks and a rise in non-compliant ID cards were topics raised by F-gas certification body Refcom during a recent meeting on key industry issues with representatives from DEFRA. 

While suppliers and distributors have a legal responsibility to check the operative purchasing gases has original F-gas certificates or an ACRIB SKILLcard, Refcom says it is worried about the development of alternative ID methods claiming to be acceptable representation of a company’s F-gas certification. Refcom maintains that DEFRA shares those concerns.

“In other areas, there are still reported cases of split systems being bought by non-qualified companies and installed illegally, often badly, so that legitimate Refcom registered companies have to go in after the installation and put right the many deficiencies in install quality,” the group claims on its website.

Article 11(5) of the regulation aims to stop the sale of split systems that would then be installed by non-certified companies or personnel. End users are allowed to buy a pre-charged split system but they must provide evidence of who will carry out the installation and their registration number for the authorities to check.

“It is a legal requirement that the seller check this evidence,” says Refcom, “although it is clear this is not always happening.”

As a result of its revelations, Refcom maintains that new legislation is now being drafted to give the EA increased powers of prosecution against non-conforming companies and end users under increased domestic civil penalty laws.