First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has confirmed that climate change is one of the biggest threats to humanity and declared a “climate change emergency” this year (2019). Tackling climate change is high on the agenda for many governments.
One of the actions being taken is the introduction of a ban that will prohibit certain types of fluorinated greenhouse gases ("F-gases") with a global warming potential ("GWP") greater than 2500 being used to service or refill refrigeration systems. The ban comes into force on 1 January 2020.
Visit our new 2020 refrigerants gas ban webpage for more about the ban, or read on for further information on Fgases and ODS.
Fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances
Fluorinated greenhouse gases (FGases) are a family of chemicals that contain fluorine however they are also powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The EU has regulation on the use of FGases like hydrofluorocarbons(HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexaflouride (SF6).
Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are halogen-containing substances that damage the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere. Some ODS are also powerful greenhouse gases. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) represent the largest remaining use of ODS, which are mostly banned in the EU. Other ODS include:
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
- Methyl Chloroform
- Carbon Tetrachloride (the main precursor of CFCs)
- Methyl Bromide
Both FGases and ODS are being phased down and phased out in the European Union (EU). They are used in a number of sectors, including:
- air conditioning and heat pumps;
- fire protection systems and fire extinguishers;
- mobile air conditioning;
- high voltage switchgear;
- solvents and aerosols.
Regulations and legislation
There are two European Union regulations for fluorinated greenhouse gases (FGases) and ozone-depleting substances (ODS):
- Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases and repealing Regulation (EC) No 842/2006.
- Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
There are two United Kingdom regulations for fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances
- Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/310)
- Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/168)
The FGases and ODS Regulations place many obligations on the operators of the equipment. They include requirements on:
- stopping the use of all HCFCs to maintain refrigerants from 1 January 2015;
- leak checks on equipment;
- record keeping;
- recovery of FGases/ODS;
- appropriately qualified personnel;
The Defra websiteprovides guidance for manufacturers, operators, contractors and others that make, sell or handle FGases and ODS and associated equipment.
We are one of the enforcing authorities in Scotland for the FGases and ODS regulations. We ensure compliance with the FGases and ODS regulations, as part of our wider regulatory duties, that apply to industrial sites permitted under Part A of the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (as amended).
Other industrial sites, commercial and retail businesses are regulated by local authorities and port health authorities. Scottish Offshore oil and gas installations are regulated by Scottish ministers
If you have any questions or require any further information or advice on any aspect of FGases or ODS, please contact: