Europe: F-gas regulation

On March 31, 2004, the European Parliament voted in its plenary session on the "F-gas" proposal (Proposal for an European Parliament and Council regulation on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases) of the European Commission dated August 12, 2003 (see IIR Newsletter No. 16). Main decisions were: - regulation based on the internal market provisions of the EC Treaty (Article 95) (and not on the dual (internal market (Article 95) and the Environment (Article 175) basis as previously proposed); - ban on fluorinated gases with a GWP higher than 50 (ban including HFC-134a and HFC-152a) on all new car air-conditioning systems as of 2014, with a phase-out period starting from 2011 (instead of 2009). The previously proposed quota system has therefore been abandoned; - the frequency of inspections of equipment containment is increased when leaks are detected and decreased where no leaks are found; - details provided on training and certification/accreditation programmes needed for the personnel/servicing company handling all fluorinated gases, on the responsibility of the owner of the equipment in ensuring such required certification/accreditation and on the need of a European set of criteria of professional qualifications with mutual recognition between Member States. The introduction of bans on fluorinated gases in a wide range of applications including domestic refrigeration was rejected, but promotion of placing on the market of gases with a GWP of less than 150 and restricting the use of fluorinated gases to the applications where there is no alternative available are required in Member States. The next phase in the adoption procedure of this regulation will be a meeting of the Environment Coucil in June 2004. It is not expected to enter into force before autumn 2005.