Cellar to Glass: The rules on F gas

Related tags Greenhouse gas Natural gas

Cellar services supplier Innserve is urging publicans to take action over new climate change regulations covering refrigeration systems.EU rules...

Cellar services supplier Innserve is urging publicans to take action over new climate change regulations covering refrigeration systems.

EU rules which became law in the UK last summer affect 99 per cent of cellar cooling equipment, plus some large food fridges and glycol beer chillers, but may have been overlooked by the trade as it tried to cope with the impact of the smoking ban.

Consultation is under way over enforcement of the new legislation, but according to Innserve the likely recommendations will mean that licensees not complying could face a criminal record plus fines of up to £5,000 in the magistrates court rising to an unlimited figure if the case reaches the crown court.

"This could be seen as more red tape for the licensed trade," says Innserve's engineering manager Kevin Reilly. "However, we are all now well aware of the climate change risk and the responsibility the industry has. Cooling cellars, bars and products is the largest energy demand of any pub and as an industry we need to do our bit to minimise consumption."

The regulations relate to F gases, mostly the HFCs that replaced ozone-depleting CFCs when the latter were outlawed in 1990. Any refrigeration device containing more than 3kg of F gas falls under the legislation and will include:

  • Cellar cooling equipment
  • Large walk-in fridges
  • Very large food cabinet chillers
  • Large-capacity glycol cooling systems
  • Large air-conditioning systems.

F gases are powerful greenhouse gases and are included in the Kyoto Protocol. Moves are already in progress to phase them out in the longer term. Meanwhile, the new legislation is intended to limit their escape into the environment where they will increase the rate of climate change.

Responsibility for managing F gases lies with the pub operator. You must:

  • Have relevant equipment checked for leaks by a specialist refrigeration engineer once every 12 months
  • Checked for leaks within a month following any new installation or breakdown
  • Maintain records of the check dates and any issues.

"Our advice is to do your bit for the environment, stay out of trouble and find a reputable company that can help keep you covered," concludes Kevin. "This problem won't go away by ignoring it."

Innserve has itself introduced a new service to help pubs cope with the F gas legislation, offering annual health checks for outlets and advice on the installation of new equipment where the old is failing.

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