Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gases) are powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming if released into the atmosphere. Their effect can be much greater than carbon dioxide. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) are all types of F gas.
HFCs are the most common type of F gases and are mainly used as the refrigerant in air conditioning and commercial refrigeration systems. F gases are also used in other areas such as fire protection systems, solvents, high voltage switchgear, types of aerosols and in specialised industrial processes.
From 1 April 2012 F-Gas Support services are being delivered by Defra: please send your queries to email@example.com.
F gases form part of the Kyoto Protocol’s ‘basket’ of greenhouse gases. Action to contain, prevent and reduce emissions of F gases is being taken by the EU as part of its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. The UK and the EU, are signatories to the protocol and the UK is therefore committed to reducing its emissions.
In 2006, the EU introduced the EU F gas Regulation. The obligations in this regulation are fleshed out by a number of European Commission Regulations that provide extra detail and introduce minimum requirements which must be complied with.
The EU framework has been fully implemented in Great Britain by the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2009 (FGG Regulations 2009). Northern Ireland has its own similar regulations.
- EU Regulation 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (the EU F gas Regulation), which aims to reduce emissions of HFCs, PFCs and SF6. This came into force in July 2007.
The obligations in this regulation are fleshed out by ten European Commission Regulations.
The European Commission are undertaking a review of the EU F gas Regulation. On 26 September 2011, they published a draft report and announced the commencement of a public consultation (see our note to stakeholders for further information). The deadline for contributions to the consultation is 19 December 2011.
If you work in the mobile air conditioning (MAC) sector, you should also be aware of the EU MAC Directive 2006/40 which covers cars and small vans. It places obligations on vehicle manufacturers as well as MAC engineers. The Department for Transport (DfT) have responsibility for implementation of the MAC Directive in the UK.
You may also be interested in the obligations under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2002/91 which includes inspections of air conditioning systems. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are responsible for this Directive.
Great Britain Regulations
- The Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2009 (the FGG Regulations 2009). These came into force on 9 March 2009 and apply to Great Britain (Northern Ireland has its own regulations).
The FGG Regulations underpin in Great Britain the EU F gas Regulation and its supplemental Commission Regulations.
Who is affected?
Many commercial, industrial and public sector organisations have obligations under the EU F gas Regulation. In particular, the five main industry sectors affected by the EU F gas Regulation are:
- stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps
- fire protection systems and fire extinguishers
- mobile air conditioning
- high voltage switchgear
Information on smaller specialist sectors that may also be affected can be found below.
End users and contractors may both have obligations, as may equipment manufacturers and distributors.
There are legal obligations for companies and qualification requirements for personnel working in the five industry sectors as well as other requirements relating to:
- leakage checking of equipment
- recovery of F gas from equipment during maintenance, servicing and at end of life
- reporting of annual F gas import, export and production figures
- labelling of equipment containing F gas (and inclusion of information in instruction manuals)
- prohibition of SF6 use in magnesium die casting and in vehicle tyres
- placing on the market prohibitions for F gases in various products and equipment
We have produced guidance to enable you to find out if the F gas obligations apply to you and which parts of your business are affected. Use the following links to get more information about specific aspects of the F gas regulatory framework:
- Stationary refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump sector
- Fire protection systems sector
- Mobile air conditioning sector
- High voltage switchgear sector
- Specialist sectors
- Record keeping and reporting
- Voluntary actions and alternative gases
- Enforcement and penalties
We have also produced more general advice about the F gas regulatory framework:
- Information Sheet GEN1: Glossary of Terms related to the F gas and ODS Regulations (PDF 100 KB)
- Information Sheet GEN2: Background to F gases and ODS (PDF 100 KB)
- Information Sheet GEN3: Overview of markets and equipment affected by the F gas and ODS Regulations (PDF 100 KB)
- Information Sheet GEN4: Links to the relevant legislation (PDF 100 KB)
- Information Sheet GEN5: Refrigerant quantity (PDF 150 KB)
Each information sheet indicates when it was last updated. Over time, the information sheets will be updated to reflect current contact points.
You can also find advice about the F gas regulatory framework in Great Britain on the Business Link website.
As well as the guidance produced for interested parties within Great Britain, the EU have produced their own guidance on the EU F gas Regulation.
- 2010 Defra study on HFC consumption and emissions forecasting (PDF 2.3 MB) looking at the use and emissions of HFCS in the UK in all sectors where emissions occur, providing an estimate of emissions through to 2050.
- 2008 Final Impact Assessment (PDF 700 KB) looking at the impact of the implementation of the FGG Regulations 2009
- 2007 Market Intelligence Report identifying the key UK end-user markets affected by the EU F gas and ODS Regulations, defining the relative importance of these markets in terms of proportions of total emissions. UK Implementation of F gas and ODS Regulations – Market Intelligence and Risk-Based Implementation Model – November 2007 (PDF 800 KB)