Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Specialist uses of F-gases

Specialist uses of F-gases

Some specialist manufacturing activities use fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases). Ensure that you comply with any F-gas obligations that apply to your business.

What you must do

Metered dose inhalers (MDIs) and electronics manufacturers

If you manufacture or supply MDIs, or produce electronics components, you must:

  • report annually to the European Commission if you are directly importing more than 1 tonne of F-gas from outside the European Union (EU), and in Scotland send a copy to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra); in Northern Ireland send a copy to the NIEA
  • recover any F-gas fluid at the end of life of containers used to supply F-gases, but not MDIs themselves
  • employ appropriately qualified staff if you perform recovery work and take delivery of containers of F-gas - the person physically taking delivery doesn't need to be qualified if they don't perform recovery work.

GOV.UK: F-gases Guidance for users, producers and traders

EUROPA: Standard reporting template

Aerosols and One Component Foam (OCF)

OCF manufacturers must no longer use F-gases. OCF importers and distributors must not source OCF manufactured after 4 July 2008 that contain F-gases. Retailers must not sell OCF containing F-gas if it was manufactured after 4 July 2008.

Using F-gas as a propellant in novelty aerosols is also banned. However, it can still be used in technical aerosols.

Magnesium smelters and sand casters

Die casters are banned from using sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), except where they use less than 850 kilograms per year (kg/year). If you are a magnesium smelter or sand caster using less than 850kg/year of SF6, you should still consider using an alternative gas. This will have less impact on global warming and may also save you money.

From I January 2018 the use of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is banned for magnesium die-casting, and for the recycling of magnesium die-casting alloys for installations using less than 850kg per year.

If your business performs recovery work and takes delivery of F-gas containers you must employ appropriately qualified personnel to do such work. The person physically taking delivery doesn't need to be qualified if they don't perform recovery work.

If you import or export more than 1 tonne of F-gases, you must report any relevant data about the quantities to the European Commission. You must also send a copy to Defra.

Insulation foam

If you produce or use insulation foam containing F-gases you must:

  • recover blowing agent from waste containers used to supply F gases
  • recover blowing agent at the end of life of containers used to supply F-gases
  • recover F-gas from waste foam, where this is technically possible and does not entail disproportionate cost
  • comply with obligations relating to labelling, training and taking deliveries.

If you directly import more than 1 tonne per year of F-gas, or preparations containing F-gas where the preparation has a global warming potential of 150 or more, for use in foam production from outside the EU, you must report it to the European Commission. You must also send a copy of the report to Defra.

High voltage switchgear

High voltage switchgear is mainly used in the electricity supply industry. If you operate high voltage switchgear that contains SF6 you must:

  • recover SF6 correctly from switchgear and SF6 containers during maintenance and at end of life
  • employ appropriately qualified personnel if you perform recovery work and take delivery of SF6 containers - the person physically taking delivery doesn't need to be qualified if they don't perform recovery work
  • ensure new switchgear is fitted with clear labels that state the type and quantity of SF6, and that the equipment contains an F-gas with a high global warming potential
  • not use non-refillable containers for transporting or storing SF6
  • Check equipment for leaks if it contains more than 6kg of SF6.

It is good practice to keep records for switchgear containing 3 kilograms or more of F-gas.

Further information

GOV.UK: F-gases guidance for users, producers and traders

EUROPA: Standard reporting template

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms