EUROPE: The European air conditioning and refrigeration contractors’ group AREA has sent a letter to EU members warning of the consequences of dropping the proposed ban on pre-charged equipment from revisions to the F-gas regulations.
While the proposal, which would effectively ban the importation and sale of pre-charged equipment, survived the first reading, AREA is now concerned that lobbying from equipment manufacturers and a compromise proposal from the Irish could see the proposed ban being dropped.
AREA is keen to eliminate the non-professional installation of pre-charged non-hermetically sealed equipment and maintains that dropping the proposal could have a negative impact on the environment. The European Commission was also in favour of the proposal because it would ensure the integrity of plans to phase down HFCs.
But, with the Irish compromise, AREA now sees a possible pre-charge ban under threat. The Irish proposal, it is believed, gets around the problem of including the quantities of refrigerant contained in pre-charged equipment and allows them to be calculated in to any phase-down timetable.
In the letter to the national authorities, AREA says that dropping the pre-charge ban “would not only negatively impact on the environment – in contradiction with the objectives of the Regulation and its revision – but it would also harm the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump contracting sector, the vast majority of which are very small companies, which employ some 230,000 people across the EU.”
In the event that the pre-charge ban is dropped, AREA has proposed a further compromise. Under another existing proposal to ban the sale of fluorinated greenhouse gases to non-certificated companies and personnel, AREA has suggested adding the words “whether in containers or pre-charged in non-hermetically-sealed equipment.”
AREA comments: “Combined with the clarification that fluorinated greenhouse gases can only be delivered to and received by certified companies or operatives (this modification was adopted by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee), this measure would ensure that only certified professionals can receive such equipment and therefore install it under maximum environmental safety conditions.”