Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
You must check that anyone who works with your equipment has the correct qualifications.
If you work with F-gases in stationary refrigeration and air-conditioning systems you will need to hold an industry qualification. There are different qualification categories and you will need to select the appropriate one for your work:
The use of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) has been phased out across Europe. Older equipment may still contain ODS and if you own or operate refrigeration or air-conditioning equipment that contains ODS you must:
If your stationary refrigeration and air-conditioning system contains more than 3kg of ODS you must:
See our guidance on ODS in refrigeration and air-conditioning.
If you have an air-conditioning system, you should keep it maintained to ensure that it does not use too much energy.
If your air-conditioning system has an output of over 12kW, you need to meet certain requirements for inspecting the energy efficiency of your systems. If you have more than one air-conditioning unit within a building they are considered to be a single system.
In Northern Ireland if your air-conditioning system has an output over 12kW it must be inspected at least every five years. If your system was first put into service on or after 1 January 2008, it must have had its first inspection within five years of the date when it was first put into service.
To find an accredited energy assessor to carry out the inspection, please search the Northern Ireland register at the following website:
In Scotland if your air-conditioning system has an output over 250kW, it must be inspected at least every five years.
Inspections must be carried out at least every five years by an accredited energy assessor who will assess the efficiency of the system and advise on improvements. All accessible parts of the system should be inspected, and most assessors will carry out a full inspection.
The requirement for all accessible parts to be inspected will become a legal requirement in all buildings owned by public authorities by 1 Jan 2019 and for all other buildings by 31 Dec 2020
A ban came into force in Northern Ireland and Scotland on 1st January 2020 that prohibits certain types of fluorinated greenhouse gases (“F-gases”) with a high global warming potential being used to service or refill refrigeration systems.
It applies to hydrofluorocarbons (“HFCs, i.e. one of the F-gases) in, amongst others:
Enforcement notices and possible fines will be able to be applied after 1st January 2020 by enforcing authorities for potential breach of the upcoming ban.
To verify the full details of whether or not your business is affected by the ban, and, if so, the actions that you should take, please download the information leaflet and answer documents available
You can also use the free NetRegs F-gas e-learning course by logging on at:
If you discharge any effluent from your refrigerators to surface waters or groundwater you must obtain:
For more information Contact your environmental regulator
See our guidance on water pollution in:
If you discharge any effluent to a public sewer you must obtain a trade effluent consent from, or have a trade effluent agreement with, your water and sewerage company or authority. You must ensure that your discharges comply with all conditions in your trade effluent consent or agreement.
You should put compressors on a drip tray to collect any leaking oil. You will need to check and empty the drip tray regularly. You must dispose of water and oil in the drip tray as hazardous/special waste.
Compressors can be noisy. If your operations cause noise, dust or odour that is a nuisance to the surrounding community, your local authority can stop or impose restrictions on your operations. For more information see our guidance on noise, odour and other nuisances.
The energy efficiency of your refrigerators and chiller units can be affected by where you locate them, the way that you use them and how well they are insulated.
F-gas Support is a UK wide government-funded team that provides guidance for manufacturers, operators and contractors who make, sell or handle F-gases and ODS and associated equipment.
Guidance - Noise and vibration management: environmental permits, Guidance - Noise and vibration management: environmental permits
Environmental Plans, Principles and Governance for Northern Ireland – Synopsis of Responses, Public responses to the Discussion Document: Environmental Plans, Principles and Governance
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