The European Union (Fluorinated Greenhouse Gas) Regulations 2016 (SI No. 658 of 2016) make provisions necessary for the purposes of full and effective implementation in Ireland of Regulation (EU) No. 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases and repealing Regulation (EC) No. 842/2006.
Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) are a family of gases containing fluorine. They are often used as a replacement for ozone-depleting substances. F-gases are powerful greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Greenhouse gases are those gases which contribute to the greenhouse effect. There are six greenhouse gases as follows:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Methane (CH4)
- Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
- Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
- Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
- Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6)
Each of these gases is controlled by the global environmental agreement known as the Kyoto Protocol. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) are collectively known as fluorinated greenhouse gases and are further controlled by specific EU legislation.
Common uses for F-gases include:
- refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment
- foam blowing agents
- firefighting fluids
- high voltage switchgear
Regulation 12 of the European Union (Fluorinated Greenhouse Gas) Regulations 2016 (SI No. 658 of 2016) requires companies installing, maintaining or servicing stationary refrigeration, air-conditioning and/or heat pump equipment containing F-gases to obtain certification in accordance with Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2067 (and various other Commission Regulations). In Ireland, it is an offence if a person carries out the installation, maintenance or servicing of equipment containing F-gases without certification.
The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment designates F-Gas Registration Ltd as the mandatory F-Gas Company Certification Scheme that can issue stationary equipment qualification company certificates in the Republic of Ireland. However, companies may also obtain a valid company certificate issued by a certification body in another Member State of the European Union that is mutually recognised in Ireland.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, F-Gas certificates and training attestations awarded by a certification body in the UK will no longer be recognised within the remaining EU member states. The UK intends on leaving the EU on the 31st of October 2019.
This will affect:
- personnel who hold training certificates or attestations issued by UK certification bodies such as City & Guilds
- companies and undertakings registered in the UK with certification bodies such as Refcom
Companies that are affected by these changes, and wish to remain certified after a no-deal Brexit, must take action as set out in the Governmental Notice: BREXIT Implications for ODS and F-Gas Contractors. If a valid application is not made within the required timeframe (i.e. procedures in advance of 11.00pm on 31 October 2019) or if a UK certificate is issued after a no-deal withdrawal, then companies will be unable to avail of the process outlined in the aforementioned notice. Companies will need to be certified by a certification body within the EU-27 such as the Irish certification body F-Gas Registration Ltd.
Companies holding training attestation/certification
Certification as a company will be processed by F-Gas Registration Ltd. Companies and Undertakings registered in the UK with company certification bodies such as Refcom and Quidos should contact F-Gas Registration directly.
Individuals holding training attestation/certification
If you hold a certificate or training attestation which was issued by a certification body in the United Kingdom in advance of UK withdrawal, you may apply to the Environmental Protection Agency for a training certificate or attestation in respect of the same activity. This process does not involve re-training and there is no fee for it.
The European Union (Fluorinated Greenhouse Gas) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (SI No. 367 of 2019) amend the European Union (Fluorinated Greenhouse Gas) Regulations 2016 (SI No. 658 of 2016) to provide for the recertification in Ireland, and in advance of Brexit, of individuals or companies certified in other Member States, and to further provide for designation of certification, evaluation and training attestation bodies. Should you require further information on the above Regulations or indeed keeping up-to-date with any other legislation, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.