F-Gas under spotlight

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) looks set to delve further into F-Gas regulation compliance over the next six months.

Following concerns raised, the Environment Agency has issued information documents to all sellers and buyers of R134a refrigerant, to remind them of their record keeping obligations. James McClean, managing director of Motorclimate UK, said, ‘As long as those involved are maintaining the end user F-Gas handler’s qualification records, there is little to be concerned about but it does act as a timely reminder.’

Mobile air conditioning (MAC) obligations fall under the Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 which cites that any person purchasing F-gas for use in a MAC system must prove to the person they are purchasing from that the technician who will use the gas holds a recovery qualification. It is an offence to sell F-gas for use by an unqualified technician.

The Environment Agency plans to make routine checks of MAC service centres to ensure that technicians are suitably qualified. Those found to be operating illegally will face regulatory action which may include prosecution.

The qualifications in Regulation (EC) 307/2008 set-out the training requirements to recover F-gas from the MAC systems in cars and light vehicles. Existing Level 3 qualifications achieved prior to 2015 are still valid. Specific F-gas MAC training course details can be found via City and Guilds of London Institute – www.cityandguilds.com or IMI Awards – www.imiawards.org.uk.

The Environment Agency has an F-gas support helpdesk available for further advice. The new Defra approved guidance relating to F-gas in the MAC sector is available on the www.gov.uk