Guidance

Managing fluorinated gases and ozone-depleting substances

Guidance for commercial, industrial and public sector organisations who use fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances

Introduction

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) are a group of chemicals containing fluorine. F-gases are powerful greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are gases which damage the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere. They are being phased out, but can be found in older equipment. There are also a few exceptions for certain uses.

Common uses for ODS and F-gases include refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, aerosols, solvents, foam blowing agents, firefighting fluids and high voltage switchgear.

This guide explains what F-gases and ODS are, how different types of businesses can comply with the F-gas and ODS legislation, and how the legislation is enforced.

Who is affected?

If you manufacture, supply, use, install or service equipment containing F-gases or ODS, or if you manufacture or supply F-gases, you must comply with legislation which aims to limit such releases.

Many commercial, industrial and public sector organisations have obligations under the EU F Gas and Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) Regulations. The five main industry sectors affected by these

Regulations are:

  • Stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps
  • Fire protection systems and fire extinguishers
  • Mobile air conditioning
  • High voltage switchgear
  • Solvents

End users, contractors, equipment manufacturers and distributors may all have obligations.

General guidance

Information sheets have been produced with guidance for manufacturers, operators, contractors and others that make, sell or work with ozone-depleting substances, fluorinated gases and associated equipment.

Refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps

Information sheets with guidance for specific industry sectors have also been produced. These information sheets are aimed at users of stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RAC) systems and contractors and equipment suppliers in the RAC industry:

Fire protection

These information sheets are intended to help users of fire protection equipment containing F gases or personnel working on such equipment. The ODS Regulation has already required the removal of halons from service in the fire protection sector except for limited critical uses, such as in the military and in aviation. The ODS Regulation therefore no longer has any impact on the majority of users of fire protection equipment.

Mobile air conditioning

These information sheets are intended to help personnel working on mobile air conditioning in vehicles. This mainly affects the servicing and recovery of F gases from car air conditioning at end of life. The EU MAC Directive 2006/40 banned the use of refrigerants with a GWP higher than 150 in car air conditioning for new vehicle types introduced after January 2011. The Department for Transport is responsible for implementation of the MAC Directive in the UK.

High voltage switchgear

These information sheets are intended to help operators and personnel working on switchgear containing sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The owners and operators of this equipment are mainly the electricity supply industry. For the most part, the ODS Regulation is not relevant to this particular sector.

Specialist sectors

These information sheets are intended to provide background information and guidance for specialist sectors affected by the EU F gas and ODS Regulations.

Enforcement

The Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2009 implement the EU F Gas Regulation and its supplementary Commission Regulations in Great Britain (Northern Ireland has its own regulations). The Environmental Protection (Controls on Ozone-Depleting Substances) Regulations 2011 and the Ozone-Depleting Substances (Qualifications) Regulations 2009 implement the EU ODS Regulation. Your local authority or the Environment Agency (or where appropriate, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency) will be the regulator for the EU F Gas and ODS Regulations. For the equivalent Northern Ireland regulations, your District Council or the Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service will be the regulator. Whether it is the Environment Agency or one of the other organisations who contacts you depends on your business and any existing arrangements with them, or permits from them, that you have.

Reporting

Both the EU F Gas and the ODS Regulations require businesses to report to the European Commission on an annual basis. Article 6 of the EU F Gas Regulation requires any company that produces, imports and/or exports more than one tonne of F gases (or blends containing more than one tonne of F gases) per annum to report to the Commission by 31 March. Article 27 of the ODS Regulation requires all registered undertakings to report on the production, import, export and destruction of ozone-depleting substances by 31 March each year.

Reporting is done online and further information and the appropriate forms are available from the European Commission (F Gas reporting and ODS reporting).

Enquiries

For all enquiries relating to the F Gas and ODS Regulations contact the Environment Agency: f-gassupport@environment-agency.gov.uk National Customer Contact Centre tel no: 03708 506 506

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