Slow progress so far

Following the introduction of F Gas in 2007, a comprehensive study into UK implementation of the new legislation was carried out. The resulting market intelligence report highlighted that over 60% of f gas emissions (over 2,000 ktonnes CO2 equivalent in 2005) were directly attributable to retail refrigeration. This particular market sector, which includes supermarkets and other food retail, non-food retail and shopping malls consists of literally thousands of sites located the length and breadth of the UK.
Given that this sector is responsible for such a large proportion of f gas emissions and the sheer logistics involved in dealing with multiple locations, it is not unreasonable to assume that it will be most affected by the F Gas regulations. Furthermore, it is reported that the implementation of F Gas could see emissions within the sector reduced by as much as over 1,000 ktonnes per year. Again, it is not unreasonable to deduce from this information that for the overall reduction figures associated with f gas emissions to be achieved, those associated with the retail sector are critical and will be targeted accordingly.

Despite these factors, the implementation of the refrigerant leak detection aspects of the F Gas legislation has generally been much slower than anticipated and there are a number of contributing factors to this. As with all legislation, those affected must take an overall, balanced view with regard to compliance and F Gas is no exception to this. The legislation places broad demands on those affected and it appears that the focus has been more on the areas of training and certification and R22 phase out and it is not difficult to see why this is the case. In many ways, these two aspects have more immediate requirements than the leak detection aspects and all pose unique and huge challenges to the industry.The continuing economic downturn and gloomy outlook for the retail sector, together with recent investments in new refrigeration technologies and alternative refrigerants such as CO2 are increasingly major contributing factors in decision making processes with regard to capital project commitment.