Hospitality operators face tough penalties if they do not upgrade their air-conditioning and refrigeration systems to comply with new environmental legislation which comes into effect on 4 July, experts have warned.
The European F-Gas regulation, which has received little or no publicity to date, will affect virtually every business with air conditioning or fridges, as it covers hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - the refrigerants used in most UK systems.
The new law requires the operators of all systems which contain any F-Gas to "take all measures which are technically feasible and do not entail disproportionate cost to prevent leakage and, as soon as possible, to repair any leaks detected".
The law also prescribes specific intervals for leakage tests to be conducted: once every 12 months for any system containing 3kg or more of refrigerant, once every six months if the content is 30kg and every three months for large systems containing 300kg or more.
However, the Government has not yet decided on the certification, training standards for the system testers, or fine levels, leaving operators in limbo, according to John Dyson, food and technical affairs adviser at the British Hospitality Association.
Dyson said there should have been a "significant" amount of publicity from the Government ahead of what is a major piece of legislation.
"It has not been well handled," he added.
Ozzy Niyazi, business development manager at air conditioning firm Quantech Environmental, warned that operators "cannot afford to do nothing" because of the potential fines and damage to reputation.
By Daniel Thomas
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