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Associations a vital link post-Brexit

Graham Wright: “staying abreast of developments in legislation across the EU will be very important to UK firms”

UK: In a post-Brexit market trade associations can provide an even more vital line of communication with the rest of Europe on important issues such as energy use regulations and product design.

This was the main message from FETA chairman Graham Wright at the annual FETA lunch in London Last week.

“FETA has been present at many meetings of European committees and pan-European associations, all aiming to help shape the plethora of policies, directives and regulations that have impact on our sector,” he told the audience of 600 at the Brewery.

Referring to a range of regulations including F-gas, energy labelling and ecodesign, he said: “Regulations are not always greeted enthusiastically by business and industry, but FETA and its members recognise the general good intentions behind them. The emphasis on sustainability and environmental issues is important for us and future generations. Energy efficient products and buildings will help ensure we have security of energy supply in the years to come.”

He insisted that it was important for the UK Government to take a measured approach to any legislative changes and emphasised the need to attract skilled labour from overseas.

Many products used in UK buildings are manufactured elsewhere in Europe, and to require different standards for the UK market would only add to manufacturing costs and hence the price. We do not want to see either consumers or businesses facing higher costs because our legislation does not keep in step with the rest of Europe. It is to everybody’s benefit this underlying philosophy is supported.”

Graham Wright called for schemes such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and the Enhanced Capital Allowance to be retained and promoted further and warned against having a “bonfire” of so-called red tape regulations.

He said that staying abreast of developments in legislation across the EU would be very important to UK firms and that trade associations were well-placed to play a significant role.

“Having spent a long time establishing good relationships with technical committees in a number of fields, FETA is well-placed to maintain those connections. Our objective, post-Brexit, is to ensure that member companies continue to have access to a flow of information on what is happening with regard to product design, refrigerant use or fan motors – or any of the other important technical issues that affect our manufacturer and installer memberships.”

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