Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depleting Substances

Legislation on fluorinated greenhouse gases (“F-gases”) and Ozone Depleting Substances (“ODS”) helps to limit Northern Ireland’s gaseous emissions and enables us to play our part in minimising the effects of global warming and ozone layer eradication.

What are Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (“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 Northern Ireland 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 Northern Ireland.

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 labelling 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 labelling 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. 

General guidance documents and UK EU Exit documents

Specific guidance for businesses working with F-gases can be found on the Gluckman Consulting (specialists in refrigeration and climate change) information sheets.

In addition, guidance has been compiled by the UK government on how businesses can continue to trade and deal in F-gases and ODS in the UK and EU if there is no EU withdrawal deal before Exit Day.

In the event of no deal, new UK regulations, as specified in the UK government guidance in the link above, will apply from EU Exit Day. These new regulations will transfer most of the requirements of the EU Regulations into UK law.

The system launched by the UK government will allow businesses to register, apply for UK quota, transfer and authorise HFC quota, report on F gas and ODS activities and apply for ODS licenses.

Businesses will be able to register for F gas and ODS quota between 11 February and 12 April 2019. This system will only be applicable in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

If your business previously required a UK quota or licence for work with F-gases or ODS, or was required to report on its use of F-gases or ODS, please register for an F-gases account or for an ODS account.

The UK government documents contained on the “Partnership pack: preparing for changes at the UK border after a no deal EU exit” page may also be of assistance to you and your business, especially if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Ozone Depleting Substances (“ODS”)

The ozone layer is part of the earth’s upper atmosphere and protects all life from ultra-violet radiation. The Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987 to control and phase out chemicals which damage the ozone layer, referred to as Ozone Depleting Substances (“ODS”).

What are Ozone Depleting Substances (“ODS”)?

Types of ODS include:

  • chlorofluorocarbons (“CFCs”)
  • halons
  • carbon tetrachloride
  • 1,1,1-Trichloroethane (methyl chloroform)
  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)

ODS – who uses them?

Businesses in NI which use the following types of equipment are examples of users of ODS:

  • refrigeration systems
  • air-conditioning systems
  • heat pump equipment
  • fire protection equipment

Laws on ODS

A number of provisions are included in the 2011 Northern Ireland Regulations on ODS  and the 2011 Regulations on Qualifications for work with ODS in Northern Ireland

These provisions ensure that stakeholders working with ODS in industry can carry out their roles with only limited leakage of ODS into the atmosphere.

Provisions of the laws on ODS include requirements, offences and penalties concerning the following:

  • on production, placement on the market and use of ODS
  • placing the market of ODS in non-refillable containers
  • placing on the market of products and equipment containing or relying on ODS
  • labelling of containers containing ODS
  • record keeping by businesses
  • trade in ODS with a State not party to the Montreal Protocol and a territory not covered by that Protocol
  • requirements for specified stationary equipment or systems
  • recovery and destruction of used ODS
  • production, placing on the market, and use of certain new types of ODS
  • reporting by businesses to the EU on their use of ODS
  • providing information to the European Commission, as required
  • qualifications required by staff for work with equipment containing ODS

The relevant EU legislation is the EC Regulation No 1005/2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer.

Further information

If you would like any further information please contact:

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