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End this illegal F-gas trade

Refrigerant in illegal disposable cylinders has been openly sold on the internet in Europe

BELGIUM: Europe’s leading air conditioning and refrigeration associations have called on the authorities to properly enforce the F-gas regulations and stop the illegal trade in refrigerants.

Responding to reports on the Cooling Post, EPEE, representing the European refrigeration and air conditioning industry, the HFC refrigerant producers group EFCTC, contractors body AREA and the French refrigerant group ADC3R – have joined forces to call for a better enforcement of the EU F-Gas Regulation.

As a growing illegal trade in refrigerants is reported, the associations are also calling on all market players to only buy refrigerants from reputable sources in order to ensure the safe and efficient operation of HVACR equipment.

In a joint statement, the groups say: “Illegal imports and consequent commercialisation of such refrigerants do not only pose a reliability and safety hazard but also put at risk the achievement of the ambitious CO2-equivalent reduction goals set by the F-gas regulation.”

“There is no need for illegal imports”, said Andrea Voigt, director general of EPEE. “Sustainable and lower GWP refrigerants and technologies are available today to contribute to meeting the requirements under the F-gas regulation.”

Much of the illegal trade involves imports of refrigerant in banned disposable cylinders

Olivier Janin, secretary general of AREA, added: “Authorities are ultimately responsible for the proper enforcement of the F-gas regulation and we call on all actors – including EU and national competent authorities – to also play their part in enforcing stricter controls at EU borders.”

According to the groups, the European Commission is working on this issue as a priority and the associations intend to work with them over the coming months to help accelerate progress.

There is also a concern that illegally imported refrigerant could present a major risk for the health and safety of installers and users and for the reliability of equipment.

“In case of accidents which may result from the use of unknown substances contained in illegally imported containers or cylinders, installers will ultimately be responsible,” the associations say in the statement.

“We have supported the F-gas regulation and the transition towards lower GWP refrigerants right from the start. We cannot afford such loopholes in the implementation and lack of coordinated enforcement, especially now as the world has agreed on a global phase-down of HFCs under the Kigali Amendment which will enter into force in those countries that have ratified it in less than three months,” added Andrea Voigt.

Over recent months the Cooling Post has led with stories from across Europe of illegal refrigerant imports, much of it in banned disposable cylinders, sales of banned HCFCs and even CFCs, and examples of companies and individuals openly flouting the F-gas regulations.

Related stories:

End this F-gas farce – 9 September 2018
EUROPE: The supposedly ground-breaking European F-gas regulations have become a farce, with the authorities seemingly unwilling or unable to stem sales of illegal refrigerant. Read more…

Dutch warn on illegal refrigerant – 10 October 2018
NETHERLANDS: Refrigerant businesses in the Netherlands have joined the condemnation of the widespread abuse of the F-gas regulations through “alternative” sales outlets. Read more…

Banned R22 openly sold in disposables – 7 September 2018
POLAND: The Cooling Post has found that illegal ozone-depleting R22 refrigerant is being openly sold in illegal disposable cylinders in Poland under the very noses of the authorities. Read more…

Poland swamped by illegal refrigerant
POLAND: The Cooling Post has found that illegal ozone-depleting R22 refrigerant is being openly sold in illegal disposable cylinders in Poland under the very noses of the authorities. Read more…

Illegal refrigerant costs Greece €20m – 23 July 2018
GREECE: The Greek air conditioning and refrigeration industry has accused EU member state Bulgaria as being a gateway for illegal refrigerant from Albania, Macedonia and Turkey. Read more…

Cantas “shock” at illegal imports – 13 July 2018
TURKEY: Istanbul-based refrigerant supplier Cantas has reacted with shock to learn that its refrigerant is being imported into the UK in illegal non-refillable cylinders. Read more…

Government rejects F-gas concerns – 10 July 2018
UK: The UK government insists it will maintain the HFC phase down post-Brexit but has ignored claims that the Environment Agency does not have the adequate resources to tackle compliance. Read more…

UK failing to enforce F-gas regulations – 25 April 2018
UK: The Environmental Audit Committee has expressed concern that the Environment Agency is under-resourced and failing to adequately investigate “large levels of non-compliance” with the F-gas regulations. Read more…

UK a hub for illegal refrigerant sales – 23 March 2018
UK: There are concerns that the UK has become a centre for sales of refrigerant in illegal disposable cylinders, a container which has been banned from use in Europe for over 10 years. Read more…

Phase down sparks rise in illegal sales – 21 March 2018
EUROPE: With the F-gas regulations beginning to bite and higher GWP refrigerants becoming expensive and scarce, evidence of illegal imports and sales is increasing. Read more…

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