Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

What is the 2020 refrigeration F-gas ban?

The 2020 refrigeration F-gas ban

New guidance from GOV.UK:
Fluorinated gases and ozone-depleting substances: how to do business from 1 January 2021


Who does it affect?

From 1 Jan 2020 it affects both owners and the users of some commercial refrigeration units that contain F-gases, as F-gases are commonly used as the coolant in fridges and freezers. This includes from freezers used in medium size convenience shops to store frozen foods, through to large supermarkets’ large refrigeration plant on the shop floor and back of the shop storage.


How do I find out if I’m affected?

The first thing to do is to check your refrigeration equipment.


Information on the label

You should have a label with information including:

  • the quantity of F-gas the refrigeration equipment uses;
  • the "Global Warming Potential" (GWP) of that F-gas;
  • the “Carbon dioxide equivalent”, or CO2e, of that F-gas.

The ban affects you if:

  • the F-gas has a GWP that is greater than 2,500, and
  • its CO2e is greater than 40 tonnes of CO.

If you can’t find your equipment's label, then obtain this information from your service engineer or the manufacturer.


Exempted equipment

The F-gases ban does not apply to:

  • equipment used for military purposes
  • equipment used to cool products below -500C.


What is banned?

F-gases which have the strongest global warming effect (> 2,500) are banned, unless they are recycled or reclaimed from other old equipment. If your refrigeration equipment is affected, then, when it needs a top up of coolant, your service engineer will only be able to use F-gases that aren't banned.


What will that mean?

Your refrigeration equipment might already use F-gas that is below the threshold. If so then the fridges or freezers can be topped up as usual and nothing changes.

If your fridges or freezers contain an F-gas with a strong global warming effect, and you are affected, then you can:

  • Top up with recycled or reclaimed F-gas of the same type. Supplies of this might decrease over time.
  • Top up with a less harmful f-gas if your equipment allows this.
  • Look at upgrading your equipment to allow it to use an f-gas that is less harmful
  • Think about buying new equipment that will not be affected by the ban. 


Do I need to buy new equipment now?

No. You should however find out if your equipment is affected, and this will allow you to plan for the future.


NetRegs has produced a short e-learning tool covering the main points of the 2020 refrigeration F-gas ban.
NetRegse-learning tools


In this guideline

What is the 2020 refrigeration F-gas ban?

Bans on new refrigeration equipment from 1 Jan 2022

What are fluorinated gases?

Phase down of F-gases 2015 – 2030

Certificates for working with F-gases in the European Union after the end of the Brexit transition period

Calculating the equipment charge as CO2 equivalent

Stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps: F-gas controls

Fire protection equipment

Mobile air conditioning (cars and vans): F-gas controls

Solvent cleaning: F-gas controls

Producing and supplying fluids: F-gas controls

Specialist uses of F-gases

How F-gas regulations are enforced

F-Gas Legislation

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