Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Air-conditioning systems in cars and vans contain fluorinated gases (F-gases). These gases are powerful greenhouse gases and may escape during the vehicle's lifetime, servicing and at the end of the vehicle's life. F-gases are more likely to leak accidentally from older vehicles.
F-gases must be recovered from vehicle air-conditioning systems during servicing and dismantling. This must only be done by a suitably qualified person.
To service, repair or dismantle vehicle air-conditioning equipment you must hold a relevant qualification in refrigerant recovery and handling from one of these organisations:
You may also hold:
Cars and vans produced before 1995 may also contain gases that are ozone depleting substances (ODS). You must ensure you comply with the ODS Regulations, and use a suitably qualified person to properly recover any hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants.
If the vehicle's air-conditioning system contains a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) such as R12, then you should not carry out any maintenance work that involves breaking into the refrigerant circuit.
You should use a specialist business to dispose of equipment containing CFCs and comply with the duty of care for waste.
If a vehicle's air-conditioning system has had an abnormal leak of refrigerant you must repair the leak before refilling it with F-gases.
Additional guidance on how to assess abnormal leakage is being produced. We will update our guidance when this becomes available.
It is good practice to make sure that you check vehicle air-conditioning equipment containing F-gases for any leaks before refilling it.
Between 2011 and 2017 the use of some F-gases will be phased-out by vehicle type. This includes the retrofitting of air-conditioning systems.
You should check with the manufacturer or dealer that a vehicle type is approved before retrofitting an air-conditioning system that uses an F-gas with a global warming potential (GWP) of greater than 150. This includes HFC 134a.
After January 2017 you must not retrofit any car or light van with an air-conditioning system that contains an F-gas with a GWP of greater than 150.
F-gas Support has published a number of information sheets covering fluorinated gases and air-conditioning for vehicles.
For further information about end-of-life vehicles see the NetRegs guidance.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.
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