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

Latest news

The European Union has issued a new law on F-gases, which came into operation on 11th March 2024, and applies directly in Northern Ireland. DAERA officials are currently assessing this new law and considering the required legislation for offences and penalties. 

A new ban came into operation in NI on 1st January 2023. Foams, often used in building insulation and fire equipment, that contain HFCs with a GWP of 150 or more were banned on that date. If this affects your business, you can find out more detail on the page on the 2023 ban on F-gases with a high GWP in foams.

The Climate Change Act (NI) 2022 ("the Act") came into operation on 7th June 2022. F-gases are included in its definition of a "greenhouse gas".  The Act commits NI to net-zero total GHG emissions by 2050 compared to the baseline. The baseline for F-gases is the year 1995.

Until 29th June 2022, the European Union was conducting a feedback period of its new proposed legislation on F-gases. This may still affect NI F-gas stakeholders. For more information, and a summary of the potential provisions, see the web-page on the EU F-gas Review and feedback period.

As of April 2022, the company Aether has conducted a scoping survey on behalf of DAERA on the extent of the use of the F-gas sulphur hexafluoride in NI.

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:
  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 Chemicals and Industrial Pollution Policy (CIPP) Branch 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:
Chemicals and Industrial Pollution Policy (CIPP) Branch

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