Advice and guidance on the use, effects and laws in relation to Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases ("F-gases").

What are “F-gases”?

Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (“F-gases”) include:

  • hydrofluorocarbons (“HFCs”)
  • perfluorocarbons (“PFCs”) 
  • sulphur hexafluoride (“SF6”)

Who uses them?

F-gases are used in several sectors of industry in NI, including:

  • refrigeration (both stationary and mobile)
  • air conditioning (both stationary and mobile)
  • fire equipment
  • aerosols
  • heat pumps
  • high-voltage switchgear

Legislation on F-gases introduces legal requirements for people in NI working with F-gases in these areas of business.

Effects of F-gas emissions

F-gases have a very high Greenhouse Warming Potential (“GWP”), much higher than carbon dioxide, and contribute to rising global temperatures.

EU legislation therefore requires that the use of F-gases is restricted and monitored. Laws on F-gases have therefore been compiled for NI.

Laws on F-gases

2015 F-gas Regulations

A number of provisions are introduced by the 2015 Northern Ireland Regulations on F-gases to ensure that stakeholders working with F-gases in industry can carry out their roles with only limited leakage of F-gases into the atmosphere.

Provisions of the 2015 Northern Ireland Regulations on F-gases include requirements for:

  • all users to ensure that F-gases are not intentionally released in to the atmosphere
  • individuals and companies to be qualified for work with F-gases
  • companies to record and report to the EU on their use of F-gases (large scale use only)
  • the labeling of products containing F-gases
  • leakage checks and repairs for large products containing F-gases, including during production and transportation of products
  • placing F-gases on the market
  • using F-gases within quantities laid out in quotas
  • recovery of F-gases after use of the product
  • restrictions on the use of F-gases for some types of industrial processes
  • all users of F-gases to co-operate with regulators during inspections

Warning notices and fines can be imposed for failure to comply with these 2015 Northern Ireland Regulations on F-gases.

2018 F-gas Amendment Regulations

The 2018 F-gas Amendment Regulations came into operation on 17th January 2019. These introduced a number of new provisions on F-gases, including the following requirements for businesses using F-gases:

  1. provisions to list certification, evaluation and attestation bodies ("CEAs") for certificates to work legally with F-gases on easily updated web-sites, instead of in legislation - these web-sites are as follows:
    CEAs for individuals, and
    CEAs for companies.
  2. changes to the business activities for which certification for work with F-gases from a CEA is required (this varies by sector and should be checked with the Air and Environmental Quality Unit if you have any queries);
  3. changes to the type of business for which certification for work with F-gases from a CEA is required, to now include refrigerated lorries and trailers;
  4. updates to the offences on the label ling of products containing F-gases;
  5. the inclusion of work with refrigeration units of refrigerated trucks and trailers in F-gas offences; and
  6. a requirement for businesses transferring F-gas work to another business to ensure that the second business has the appropriate certification to work legally with F-gases.

The synopsis of consultee responses to the consultation shows stakeholders' views during the (now finished) consultation period on the 2018 F-gas Amendment Regulations. 

Further information

If you would like any further information please contact:

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