Acting on maintenance, installation and training


03 March 2022

Chief executive Chris Yates explains FETA’s role in the industry as part of ACRIB.

The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board (ACRIB) is a central forum for trade associations and professional bodies from all sectors and interests in or served by the RACHP industry. Established for over 20 years, ACRIB has been involved in supporting the UK Government in implementing F-Gas legislation, providing a balanced input to policy makers and legislators and responding to legislative consultations whilst offering technical advice and industry guidance on good practice.

Eight organisations are members of the ACRIB Board, including the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA). FETA itself is composed of six separate associations, all involved in aspects of building services. Not every member company is focussed on the areas covered by ACRIB but, with constituent groupings such as the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Association (HEVAC); the British Refrigeration Association (BRA); the Heat Pump Association (HPA); and the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) we can lay claim to significant involvement in each of the disciplines within the “RACHP” field. 

Whilst primarily seen as a manufacturer-led body, we have considerable overlap with installation and maintenance issues and of course with training. An example of the latter is our involvement in a series of Trailblazer Apprenticeship programmes. We also represent refrigerant gas manufacturers and distributors so are well placed to advise DEFRA on, for example, F-Gas policies. Connected to that topic we were delighted when Mike Nankivell was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Mike is a former President of HEVAC and the HPA and a former FETA chair and a well-respected figure in the industry whose contribution was deservedly recognised. 

FETA has strong involvement with other bodies in our sector, both nationally and internationally, and of course with relevant government authorities across Westminster and the devolved nations. Many of our members who volunteer to stand on ACRIB committees are also active participants in the Institute of Refrigeration and/or the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers.  On the subject of organisational collaboration, we were proud to play our part in the creation in 2021 of a new industry body called Actuate UK. There have been longstanding cooperative relationships in our sector, but this new venture is a more formal coalition of ourselves, BESA, BSRIA, CIBSE, ECA, LEIA, SNIPEF and SELECT. Its remit is broad and based around 4 main themes of building safety; delivering the post-COVID recovery in the built environment; developing skills and talent; and finally, contributing our sector expertise to the net zero carbon agenda. Given the fact that refrigeration plays such a significant, if often not fully appreciated, part in all aspects of life there is considerable synergy between the aims and interests of Actuate UK and ACRIB indeed BESA and CIBSE are of course already long standing ACRIB members.

Much at stake

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Looking forward we see an increasing requirement for strong advocacy for our sector, particularly regarding the politically sensitive area of post-BREXIT regulatory alignment with Europe and also to influence and indeed encourage government action with regard to evolving Building Regulations, the latter all the more so in the context of the new Building Safety regime emerging in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. 

Within FETA the wider climate action agenda is not exclusive to the HPA but it is clearly at the forefront of our involvement in it. In addition to many years of involvement with government policies such as the Renewable Heating Incentive scheme, it has taken the initiative in addressing the considerable gap in heat pump installer capacity by designing and launching a training scheme earlier this year. This sits within the Prime Minister’s 10-Point Plan for a green industrial revolution and was supported by the Secretary of State for Business and Energy Kwasi Kwarteng, who described it as “a great example of how government and industry can work together to accelerate progress and create the high-skilled jobs needed to make homes greener and more energy efficient”.

There is much at stake at the moment for our sector and FETA is proud to be an active member of ACRIB.