The announcement by ACRIB comes following confirmation of the situation by DEFRA and the Environment Agency and means that the 30,000 existing individual F-gas certificates issued in accordance with the 2006 F-gas regulations remain valid under the new 2014 Regulation EC517/2014.
However, ACRIB has pointed out that if a certificate has an expiry date, the certified engineer will need to undertake a reassessment when due. Reassessments are now available for those holding expired CITB Certificates. For those holding City & Guilds 2079 (or relevant units within the 7189 or 6187 qualifications) no reassessment is necessary.
The UK, like all member states, has an obligation to ensure that any F-gas certificates issued in future cover the changes that have been introduced by the 2014 regulations – such as the different leak checking requirements and knowledge of the phase down timetable and new specific bans – some of which come in from January 2015. Both the CITB and City & Guilds F Gas Certificates will be updated in line with the changes to the knowledge element of the assessment in the required timescale so that anyone new to the industry taking their F Gas Certificate is up to date.
ACRIB reveals that the UK is still awaiting clarification on a number of points within the 2014 F Gas Regulation. These include the requirement for already F-gas certified individuals to have access to information regarding technologies to replace HFCS, and existing regulatory requirements for alternative refrigerants. There is also a clause in the new Regulations that says Member States have to make available training for anyone who wants to update their knowledge. The Commission is planning to carry out a review of existing legislation covering training for the safe-handling of alternative refrigerants and, if appropriate, submit a legislative proposal. The results of this review are expected in 2017.
The 2014 European F-gas Regulation 517/2014 is directly applicable in UK law. However UK legislation is needed to cover the compliance and enforcement measures. A draft of that legislation, which will repeal the previous UK F Gas Regulation, is due for consultation this autumn.
The full text of the 2014 European F Gas Regulation is available here.