How companies can continue to buy and sell fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances in the UK and EU if the UK leaves without a deal
In the event of a No-Deal Brexit, the regulation of both fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) and ozone-depleting substances (ODS) will transfer from the EU to the UK from 12 April 2019
What are F-gases and ODS?
F-gases and ODS are substances used primarily in refrigerants and in fire-suppression equipment, but also in other products including medical inhalers, insulation foams, solvents and feedstocks for the manufacture of other chemicals. These substances are subject to comprehensive rules on their use, and those companies that currently work with them must be sufficiently qualified and informed regarding their use.
Will my company be affected?
In the event of a No-Deal Brexit, the changes will affect your company if you:
- produce, supply, import, export or use bulk F-gases or ODS
- manufacture or import equipment containing F-gases or ODS
- service commercial, industrial and transport refrigeration and air conditioning systems and other products containing F-gases or ODS
What legislation currently affects these substances?
Currently, companies adhere to the following two EU regulations:
The F-Gases and ODS Regulations ban certain uses, require leakage checks, and stipulate that handlers of F-Gases and ODS must be trained and certified. Certificates are mutually recognised by EU countries, so someone certified in one EU country can work in another.
As a regulation, both the above pieces of legislation have direct effect across Europe, and – although parts of them require implementation through national legislation – the primary requirements are contained in the European legislation.
What are the changes?
It is important to note that if your UK-based company trades in the EU market after exit, you will still need to conform to the EU regulations. The UK government has stated that ‘the majority of the requirements in the EU ODS and F-Gas regulations will continue to apply in the same way after the UK leaves the EU, including in the unlikely event of No-Deal’.
However, F-gases and ODS regulations will change from 12 April 2019 in the event of a No-Deal Brexit, these changes include:
- a new quota, reporting and licensing systems for F-gases and ODS
- the process by which a quota is attained after Brexit and thereafter
- the process by which EU quota authorisations are converted into UK authorisations
- how to continue your UK-based company’s eligibility for an EU quota to place hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) on the EU market (and vice versa)
Thus, there are important regulatory consequences of a No-Deal Brexit. GOV.UK has detailed guidance for companies on the implications of a no-deal Brexit for F gas and ODS management (last updated 25 March 2019).
However, there is already some confusion for companies on working with F-Gases and ODS and the requirements therein on use, quotas and certification in the result of a No-Deal Brexit. Please Contact Us if you require help in planning for, understanding and following the requirements as the UK leaves the EU.