Revision of F-Gas RegulationClimalife UK
Within the F-Gas Regulation (EU 517/2014) there is a requirement to review the legislation during 2022. When Great Britain (GB) left the European Union (EU) at the end of January 2020 the F-Gas legislation was adopted as GB legislation, but there was no longer a requirement for GB to follow the EU legislation. This led to the EU and GB publishing two separate review documents.
On 5 April 2022, the European Commission presented legislative proposals relating to air pollution and climate change, including a regulatory proposal revising EU Regulation N° 517/2014, more commonly known as F-Gas II, on fluorinated greenhouse gases.
The proposal by the Commission aimed to accelerate technological change to meet the EU's climate and energy objectives. This legislative proposal was the start of a process involving different bodies of the European Commission and stakeholders. A further proposal from the European Parliament was approved by the European Council in April 2023. Currently the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission are in discussions to decide the final text of the new regulation, which is currently expected to conclude in Q3 2023.
The main changes in the latest proposal compared to the current version are as follows:
Rapid phase down of the use of HFCs and PFCs extended to 2050 there may be a total phase-out.
Change in allowances such as:
- Reference value of quotas.
- Metered dose device included.
- Quotas to be paid for.
Removal of some additional exemptions and bans for placing new equipment on the market (Annex IV) compared to the current F-Gas, for example:
- Introduction of “self-contained” as a category of equipment type.
- On heat pumps.
- Removal of the "commercial refrigeration"distinction.
- Removal of the exemption for the maintenance of installations < 40 teq CO2.
- On electrical switchgear.
- On cosmetic products.
Cross surveillance of the European market by the European authorities and traceability.
Fight against illegal products.
Extension of the scope of the F-Gas Regulation, for example:
- Certification and recovery of HFOs.
- Training on alternatives.
- Promotion of the use of recycled and reclaimed products.
Check with Climalife for the latest information on the status of the EU F-Gas review.
In December 2022 the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), in conjunction with the Scottish and Welsh Governments, published an assessment report of the F-Gas regulation in Great Britain.
The legislation at the centre of all this is known as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals). Every chemical used in quantities of 1 tonne per annum or more must have a REACH registration and be approved for use in the intended applications. Pre-2020 the UK conformed to the EU REACH legislation, but since 2020, Great Britain has followed its own UK REACH legislation and no longer has to conform to the EU legislation. There is a class of chemicals referred to as poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which exhibit unique properties including tolerance to extreme temperatures and ability to repel oil and water that can be very desirable in many applications. But these very properties also make some of them slow to degrade meaning they can remain in the environment for many decades leading to them sometimes being referred to as ‘forever chemicals’.
There is no single globally adopted definition of what is a PFAS, but legacy products such as perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctane carboxylic acid (PFOA) have been regulated for some time, as they were identified as being highly persistent in the environment (P), bio accumulative (B) and toxic (T). In 2021 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) redefined what constitutes a PFAS, increasing the number of chemicals in the class to greater than 9000. This definition may include most of the fluorinated molecules used as refrigerants, with the exceptions of R-32, R-152a and R-23, and is based purely on molecules containing certain chemical structures and is not based on the PBT properties of the chemicals.
Within this report many aspects of how the current F-Gas has performed, what technologies are available, costs and benefits analysis as well as predicted effects of adopting different future strategies are discussed but no firm proposals were provided.
Subsequent stakeholder meetings and discussions with stakeholder groups have indicated that the more extreme proposals being discussed within the EU are not seen as plausible, bearing in mind the need to decarbonise, and the strong encouragement to move to heat pumps rather than fossil fuel burning boilers. The GB process is progressing at a slower rate than the EU and it is not expected that any new legislation will be in place before 2025.
Stakeholder review meetings are still taking place with Defra, and Climalife are actively involved. We encourage all GB F-Gas users to engage with industry associations but also with local Members of Parliament (MPs) as, for the first time, they will have to vote on the final legislation so it is important that they understand how it will impact your business and society as a whole.
As always Climalife will keep up to date with the status of all the legislation change processes and keep you informed.