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”).

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The European Union has issued a new law on ODS, 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. 

Until 23rd June 2022, the European Union was conducting a feedback period of its new proposed legislation on ODS. This may still affect NI ODS stakeholders. For more information, and a summary of the potential provisions, see the web-page on the EU ODS Review and feedback period.

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

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