MACpartners, the European trade body for vehicle air conditioning, has announced that it will challenge what it describes as a contradiction of the MAC Directive over use of R134a top-ups for untrained personnel.
The body said it was ‘astounded’ to hear of the recent U-turn by DEFRA over the purchase of F-Gases by unlicensed individuals and the general public and will be addressing the matter with DEFRA and the European Commission.
The announcement follows the release of Environment Agency documents earlier this year which suggest that f-gas restrictions do not apply for the servicing of Mobile Air-Conditioning (MAC) systems and are only enforceable for the recovery of F-gases.
Green light for DIY
DEFRA lawyers have since confirmed that sales for DIY air conditioning servicing can continue without certification or verification.
In it’s statement, MACpartners said: “This action by DEFRA not only allows the sale of so called DIY top ups of R134a to untrained service technicians and even further to the general public via auto spare parts outlets, but it allows untrained individuals to simply add refrigerant to a leaking system without seeking the services of qualified service personnel to properly recover the refrigerant from the vehicle and perform repairs.
“The DEFRA ruling certainly appears to be against the best interests of the professional auto repair industry, and could lead to negative consequences for the vehicle being serviced and to the environmental issue of f-gas emissions not being followed.”
The group added that it was particularly concerned that the government U-turn appears to have been made after undisclosed UK stakeholders questioned the authority of DEFRA to restrict the sale of these products.
James McClean, managing director of MotorClimate and CompressorTech, told GW that the amendments have been written by individuals with “little or no experience of how vehicle air conditioning systems are serviced.”
He said: “It seems we’ve now got ‘DEFRA lawyers’ interpreting regulation text in a way that runs contrary to the entire purpose of the legislation.”
Have you invested in F-gas qualifications to comply with earlier guidelines? Share your concerns about DIY F-gas products – please leave your comments below.