1 Objective

The objective of this guidance document is to clarify for members the consequences of leaving the EU with regard to the fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances regulations in the United Kingdom after the transition period ends on 31st December 2020.

This guidance will be reviewed and updated over the course of the coming months as positions and situations may change due to negotiations between UK Government and the EU and any subsequent legislation that may ultimately affect this guidance. The guidance will be based on knowledge at the time of publication and the latest version of any guidance should always be sought.

EN standards have already been transposed as “BS EN” standards and will, for the time being remain valid.

The earlier version of TB049, published 12th November should be referred to for framework and background issues such as quota registration and allowances or import/export requirements. This updated version only addresses the specific issue of personal and company f-gas registration and certification.

2 Core requirements of UK F-Gas Regulations

The new GB regulations come into effect on 1st January 2021 and will effectively transfer the requirements of the current EU regulations directly into GB legislation ensuring a continuity of the day-to-day requirements on contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers. The UK will continue to restrict the use of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and maintain the phase down schedule for fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gas), reducing the placing on the market of F-Gas by 79% relative to the baseline set in the current F-Gas Regulations.

The obligations to continue the following will remain:

  • To prevent intentional release of F-gases
  • To prevent the unintentional release of F-gases during production and use
  • To minimise and repair leakages
  • To carry out leak checks and keep records, and to use leak detection systems for certain systems
  • To recover F-gases from equipment for recycling, reclamation, or destruction where equipment is being repaired or decommissioned
  • To restrict the placing on the market of certain equipment and products and to prevent sales to businesses who do not hold the relevant certification
  • Correct product and equipment labelling

3 Registration & Certification

For engineers and technicians, the existing qualifications remain valid and necessary to undertake the work. Existing certification without expiry date(s) will remain valid until such time as they are superseded. Certificates issued from other EU member states will remain valid.

To enable engineers and technicians to work in the EU, including in the Republic of Ireland, from 1st January 2021, the technician will have to hold an F-Gas qualification certificate issued by an EU member state. Engineers can obtain an Irish issued equivalent to their F-Gas qualification free of charge by applying through the Irish EPA website here and clicking on the “RACHPT&T” link there. This service will only be available until 31st December 2020 and the Irish authorities have urged anyone affected to do this without delay as there may be delays in processing the applications at their end which may prevent you being able to work there.

For companies, the existing registration arrangements with REFCOM remain valid throughout the UK. REFCOM has confirmed our intention to continue to operate the UK’s largest F-Gas Register for both Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the 1st January 2021.

If you intend working in the Republic of Ireland, or elsewhere in the EU, we recommend applying for an Irish FGR registration for 2021 after 1st January. REFCOM are working with the Irish authorities to ensure your REFCOM registration will be recognised by them later in 2021, but this facility will not be in place for the start of the year.

Please note:

Where an engineer or technician operates as a sole trader they are classed as being “a company” under the regulations and must hold a company certificate as well as the relevant personal qualifications.

Companies employing sole traders on a sub-contract basis must ensure that the sole trader / sub-contractor is properly registered with REFCOM as well. Sole trader/sub-contractors cannot operate on somebody else’s license.

Further information is available on the Government website for contractors here.

 

Note: this document is based on knowledge available at the time of publication and is meant for general purposes, not for reliance on in relation to specific technical or legal issues, in which case you should always seek independent advice. No responsibility of any kind for any injury, death, loss, damage or delay however caused, resulting from the use of the advice and recommendations contained herein, is accepted by the authors or others involved in its publication (including the Building & Engineering Services Association).  17/12/2020

Download the TB049 V2 here

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