Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
New guidance from GOV.UK:
Fluorinated gases and ozone-depleting substances: how to do business from 1 January 2021
Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) were once widely used in the manufacture of refrigeration and air conditioning systems. The substances most commonly used were:
In some cases, refrigeration equipment also used insulating foam that contained ODS.
The supply and use of CFCs and halons in refrigeration equipment is banned throughout the European Union (EU). This means that you can't use them in the manufacture of new equipment or to maintain existing equipment. If you have equipment designed to use CFCs, you should have stopped using this type of refrigerant by either retro-filling existing systems with an alternative or replacing old equipment.
Virgin HCFCs can't be used in any new refrigeration equipment. The use of recovered or reclaimed HCFCs to top up or service equipment is banned from 1 January 2015.
If you manufacture or maintain refrigeration equipment you must make sure you don't use banned ODS. You should always try to use alternatives to CFCs and HCFCs, such as hydrofluorocarbons.
If you own or operate stationary refrigeration or air conditioning equipment you must:
You must test for leaks regularly - how often you are required to check (using certified personnel) depends on the type of system and the quantity of ODS.
Leak testing frequencies
|Frequency||Normal systems||Systems labelled as hermetically sealed|
|None||Less than 3 kilograms||Less than 6 kilograms|
|Annual||3 kilograms to 29 kilograms||6 kilograms to 29 kilograms|
|Six-monthly||30 kilograms to 299 kilograms||30 kilograms to 299 kilograms|
|Quarterly||300 kilograms or more||300 kilograms or more|
The system must be checked within a month after a leak has been repaired to ensure that the repair has been effective.
You must hold a minimum qualification to carry out specific tasks on certain types of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment if it contains ODS.
Northern Ireland: List of qualifications in Schedule 1 of the regulations
Scotland: List of qualifications in Schedule 1 of the regulations
IMPORTANT - Action needed by 31st December 2020 for individuals that possess UK certificates for work with F-gases or ozone depleting substances in products/equipment and that work in the Republic of Ireland’s jurisdiction: apply for certificate valid within the EU, through individual certificates exchange scheme. See
Certificates for working with ODS in the European Union after the end of the Brexit transition period
If you dispose of equipment containing ODS you must comply with the duty of care for waste and use a specialist fridge disposal business.
Find your nearest waste site
Alternatively, local traders or charities may accept refrigeration equipment that is in good working order. Check your local telephone directory for details. Refrigeration units may be refurbished for sale anywhere within the EU.
Local councils do not have to accept waste refrigeration equipment from businesses, but they may be able to offer advice.
Find your local council
Stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps: ODS controls
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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