Implementation of the new EU F-Gases Regulation
Fluorinated gases (F-gases) are powerful greenhouse gases which were largely introduced as replacements to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which damage the ozone layer. The EU legislation introduced in 2006 aimed at preventing growth in F-gas emissions but it did not lead to a significant reduction. Therefore, it was replaced by a new EU F-Gases Regulation, applying from January 2015. This consultation was seeking views on the implementation of the new EU F-Gases Regulation and on its impact assessment. The consultation closed on 20 January 2015.
Objectives of the consultation
Fluorinated gases (F-gases) are used in refrigeration, air-conditioning, insulation foams, electrical switchgear equipment, aerosol sprays, medical inhalers, solvents, fire extinguishers and a few other specialist sectors. They include various chemicals that fall into 3 groups: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). They were largely introduced as replacements to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other chemicals which damage the ozone layer. However, while they do not damage the ozone layer, they are powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs), with global warming potentials (GWPs) that are many thousands of times higher than carbon dioxide (CO2). Emissions, therefore, have the potential to make a significant contribution to climate change.
The EU introduced legislation in 2006 aimed at preventing growth in F-gas emissions. That Regulation focused on leak repairs, F-gas recovery and technician training. Although it stabilised emissions it did not lead to a significant reduction. The 2006 Regulation was, therefore, revoked and replaced by a new EU F-Gases Regulation which applies from January 2015 and which will lead to an 80% reduction in F-gas emissions by 2035. It will achieve that by:
phasing down the amount of F-gases that can be placed on the market through gradually reducing quotas on F-gas producers and importers;
bans on certain F-gases in certain applications;
and strengthening of obligations on leak checks, repairs, recovery and training of those who install or service equipment containing F-gases.
This consultation focused only on the new domestic legislation to enforce the EU Regulation and on the associated impact assessment. The government was not consulting on the content of the EU Regulation itself which was the subject of consultation in 2013.
To download the papers which supported this consultation please follow the links below.
CIBSE considers that the enforcement regime proposed in the consultation and the current arrangements relating to air conditioning inspections give those enforcing the F-Gas Regulation greater power to pursue an enquiry about an air conditioning inspection report under the EPB Regulations than the enforcement body specified by the EPB Regulations. CIBSE believes that these discrepancies may hinder an efficient and effective approach to the regulation of F-gases.
The principles of better regulation would suggest that enforcement provisions across related instruments should be proportionate, reasonable, and consistent. CIBSE believes that in relation to the enforcement of the F-Gases Regulation and EPB Regulation, this is not the case. Therefore, the Institution would advocate in removing those inconsistencies, by bringing the provisions and powers available to Trading Standards Officers under the EPB Regulations in line with the F-Gas provisions.
To read the full CIBSE response, please follow the link below.
Results of the consultation and next steps
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) published a summary of responses to the consultation on 19 February 2015. The 2015 F-gases Regulations, subject to Parliamentary approval, will come into force in March 2015. Defra expects the European Commission to produce various implementing regulations covering issues such as labelling, training and certification. The Environment Agency will launch targeted communications to encourage compliance and ensure effective enforcement.
To download the consultation summary report and the Explanatory Memorandum to the F-Gases Regulations 2015, please follow the links below.