Cyber-attack & data theft: Our response & service status

FGases and ODS

Service status

A sophisticated criminal cyber-attack has had a major impact on the way SEPA works. We are working through all the services that we provide to understand what we need to do in the short and longer term to restore services. We are approaching this work with a sense of urgency.

FGases and ODS

As part of the Scottish Governments ambition of net-zero emissions for Scotland by 2045, 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 was introduced in 2020.

This ban will continue following EU Exit with the introduction of the Ozone-Depleting Substances and Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. Visit our 2020 refrigerants gas ban webpage for more about the ban, or read on for further information on F Gases and ODS.

Fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F Gases) are a family of chemicals that contain fluorine however they are also powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The UK has regulation on the use of F Gases 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 UK. Other ODS include:

  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • Halons
  • Methyl Chloroform
  • Carbon Tetrachloride (the main precursor of CFCs)
  • Methyl Bromide

Both F Gases and ODS are being phased down and phased out in the European Union (EU). They are used in a number of sectors, including:

  • refrigeration;
  • 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 United Kingdom regulations for fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances

1. Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/310)

2. Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/168)

These regulations were amended via the Ozone-Depleting Substances and Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and continue to function following EU Exit.

The F Gases 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 F Gases/ODS;
  • appropriately qualified personnel;
  • labelling.

The Defra website provides guidance for manufacturers, operators, contractors and others that make, sell or handle F Gases and ODS and associated equipment.

Our role

We are one of the enforcing authorities in Scotland for the F Gases and ODS regulations. We ensure compliance with the F Gases 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

Contact us

If you have any questions or require any further information or advice on any aspect of F Gases or ODS, please contact: