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
- 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:
- 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:
- 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);
- 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;
- updates to the offences on the label ling of products containing F-gases;
- the inclusion of work with refrigeration units of refrigerated trucks and trailers in F-gas offences; and
- 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.
If you would like any further information please contact:
Chemicals and Industrial Pollution Policy (CIPP) Branch