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Defra opens talks with two new firms on F-gas company scheme

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has told H&V News it is in discussion with two other firms for the right to run the mandatory company registration scheme under the F-Gas regulation.

Any relevant air conditioning business not registered after 4 July will be committing an offence and could be subject to fines.

Defra has already been locked in discussion with Refcom for months trying to thrash out a way of converting its voluntary company registration scheme to a mandatory scheme for all air conditioning installers.

A Defra spokesman said: “Discussions are at advanced stage with Refcom but drawing to a close. We are also in discussion with two other parties, which we will continue even if discussions with Refcom are resolved successfully.”

Defra declined to name the two firms citing commercial sensitivity, although H&V News understands that one firm is Quidos, which provides an accreditation scheme for building energy assessors, including air conditioning inspectors. Quidos declined to comment.

Speaking at the HVCA’s RAC group AGM, Graham Manly, president elect of HVCA articulated the industry’s frustration with the delay in finalising details of the company registration scheme with the July deadline looming.

“We are a month away from every company which handles these gases needing to be registered and we do not have a publically recognised scheme. That is really atrocious. I just hope that, in the end, sense will prevail and we will get a scheme which does what is needed.”

The HVCA added it will pay to fast track HVCA members of Refcom in a bid to ensure they are granted interim certificates before the July deadline.

HVCA head of communications and public affairs Jack McDavid said he was not surprised that Defra was in discussion with other organisations over the scheme.

“However, it is important that any organisation running the scheme does so to a satisfactory standard,” he said.

H&V News understands the main sticking point between Defra and Refcom during their protracted discussion has been Defra’s preference for a light touch scheme, while Reform prefers a more robust approach, similar to its current voluntary scheme.