If the UK leaves the EU without any deal on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), the government will maintain the same high standards in regulating fluorinated gases (F-gases) and ozone depleting substances (ODS), which are used as refrigerants, feedstocks for the manufacture of other chemicals, in medical inhalers, fire extinguishers and in a range of other applications.
The majority of the requirements in the EU ODS and F-gases regulations will continue to apply in the same way. Use of chemicals which damage the ozone layer is currently restricted under the EU Ozone Depleting Substances Regulation, which implements the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that aims to phase out ODS.
Currently, your company is allocated quotas allowing it to place limited quantities of ODS on the market for certain activities. Certain products containing ODS are banned and your company has to control leakages, report on their usage and apply for a licence to import or export ODS.
Use of the main group of F-gases, known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), is being phased down under the EU Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulation to help address climate change, as well as implementing international obligations under the Montreal Protocol.
Your business is again allocated a quota allowing it to place HFCs on the EU market. To receive an HFC quota, your business needs to have an office or ‘Only Representative’ in the EU. The regulation also bans certain uses, requires leakage checks and requires handlers of F-gases to be trained and certified, with certificates mutually recognised by EU countries.
How regulations will change
If the UK leaves the EU without any deal on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), the UK will set up its own quota systems and companies will receive two HFC quotas: one for placing on the UK market issued by the UK government and another for placing on the market for EU countries, issued by the EU Commission.
New UK IT systems will be established and administered by the Environment Agency. The reporting requirements on business will not change, only the IT systems they use.
If you’re a business that produces, imports, or exports HFCs or ODS or products and equipment pre-charged with HFCs or ODS you will need to apply for UK quota to place them on the UK market. You will also use the new UK systems to report on your use of ODS and F-gases.
Fluorinated greenhouse gases
The UK will continue using the same quota method and schedule to phase down HFCs, administered through a separate UK system run by the Environment Agency.
If the UK leaves the EU without any deal, the Environment Agency will notify your company of its:
- UK reference value (the baseline for calculating annual UK quota values)
- UK HFC quota for the period from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2019
You will also continue to get a quota from the European Commission, adjusted to deduct your UK market share.
Your UK company will need to set up an office or appoint an ‘Only Representative’ in the EU to remain eligible for EU quota.
If you’re a business not based in the UK you will need to appoint an ‘Only Representative’ in the UK to be eligible for a UK quota.
There will also be a new UK HFC registry and reporting system, to capture the same type of information as is currently recorded on the EU HFC registry and F-gases reporting tool.
Ozone depleting substances
The UK will continue to use a quota system to restrict the use of ozone depleting substances.
Where you currently apply to the European Commission for an ODS quota, instead of this, you will need to:
- apply to the Environment Agency for a quota
- use new UK systems to report to the agency on your use of ODS
- apply to the agency for import and export licences on a new electronic licensing system
- from 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), hold a licence to import or export ODS between the UK and EU
There will be a new IT system to apply for a licence, and guidance on how to use the new system will be made available to users.
Actions you can take now
- Consider any changes you may need to make to adapt to new processes and systems.
- The passport rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) without a deal. Read the government’s guidance on Travelling to the EU with a UK passport if there’s no Brexit deal and, if relevant, ensure your employees and customers are aware of the potential changes.
- Stay up-to-date with these changes by registering for email alerts. Follow the link, add your email address, select ‘submit’, select ‘Add subscription’ and choose ‘EU Exit’ then select ‘Submit’.