EFCTC: Key elements of the F-Gas Regulation 842 2006 and the MAC Directive 40 2006

Entry into force (Art. 19) :
The F-gas Regulation and the MAC directive were published in the Official Journal fo the Europan Union on 14 June 2006. The Regulation entered into force on 4 July 2006 and a number of the measures will apply from 4 July 2007. In addition to the legal text, additional national measures will be needed to implement, among others, its provisions on penalties for non-compliance, to be notified by 4 July 2008 (Art. 13)

Legal Basis :
Environment (Article 175 of the EU Treaty) for containment, recovery, certification and reporting, which means that Member States can adopt more stringent rules provided that they are notified under the appropriate procedures and demonstrated to be justified ;

Internal Market (Article 95 of EU Treaty) for Articles 7 (labelling), 8 (control of use for SF6) and 9 (placing on the market for HFCs) – here Member States cannot adopt more stringent measures without detailed justification, while a temporary exception is granted until 31 December 2012 (Art 9.3.a), subject to a justification due to 4 July 2007 showing that such measures are “compatible with the Treaty” (Art. 9.3b).

Containment (Art. 3)
This Article covers refrigeration, air-conditioning (including heat pumps, etc.) and fire protection units.

The Commission will by 4 July 2007 establish the standard leakage checking requirements (Art. 3.7), which will be the basis for operators to use “all measures which are technically feasible and do not entail disproportionate cost” to prevent leakage repair any detected leakage.

A periodical check by certified personnel (Art. 5) is required, with the following frequency, depending on the quantity used :

  • 3 kg or more : at least once every 12 months – except for hermetically sealed systems containing less than 6 kg;
  • 30 kg or more : at least once every 6 months (12 months with an appropriate leakage detection system);
  • 300 kg or more : at least once every 3 months (6 months with an appropriate leakage detection system – which is anyway mandatory).

For 300 kg or more units, leakage detection systems must be checked at least once every 12 months.
In the case of fire protection systems installed before 4 July 2007, leakage detection systems must be installed by 4 July 2010.

For all units containing more than 3 kg F-gases a log book must be kept, indicating the quantity and type of product, quantities added when necessary, and the quantity recovered during servicing, maintenance and final disposal. Other relevant information is also requested, like the the identification of the servicing company or technician, dates and results of the checks.

Recovery (Art. 4)
In the case of refrigeration, air conditioning, heat pumps, solvents equipment, fire protection and high-voltage switchgears, recovery by certified personnel must be ensured, for the sake of recycling, reclamation or destruction.

For other applications, F-gases shall be also recovered, to the extent that it is technically feasible and does not entail disproportionate cost.

Training and certification (Art. 5)
For the applications concerned by containment requirements, the Management Committee (established by Art. 12.2) will, by 4 July 2007, establish minimum requirements and conditions for mutual recognition regarding training programmes and certification for the companies and the technical personnel involved in installation, maintenance or servicing.

Certification programmes will cover the knowledge of regulations and standards, as well as the necessary competence in emission prevention and recovery of Fgases.

On that basis, and by 4 July 2008, Member States shall establish or adapt their own training and certification requirements, and will give recognition to the certificates issued in another Member State.

By 4 July 2009 Member States shall ensure that the involved companies can only take delivery of F-gases if their relevant personnel is certified.

Reporting (Art. 6)
It is very similar to the reporting of Ozone Depleting Substances. It will be done on an annual basis, and is applicable to producers, importers and exporters.

Labelling (Art. 7)
Refrigeration, air-conditioning (including heat pumps, etc.) and fire protection units, high-voltage switchgears, and all F-gases containers will be labeled.

Hermetically sealed systems will be signaled.

Control of use (Art. 8)
From 1 January 2008 : prohibition of SF6 in magnesium die-casting for consumptions higher than 850 kg per year.
From 4 July 2007 : prohibition of SF6for the filling of vehicle tyres.

Placing on the market prohibitions (Article 9 and Annex II)
By 4 July 2006 : Footwear.

By 4 July 2007 : Footwear; non-refillable containers; non-confined direct‑evaporation systems containing refrigerants; PFCS in fire protection systems and fire extinguishers; domestic windows; tyres.

By 4 July 2008 : one component foams (except when required to meet national safety standards); non-domestic other windows.

By 4 July 2009 : novelty aerosols (used for entertainment and decorative purposes)

Stricter national measures : see Legal Basis.

Review (Art.10 )
For air conditioning systems (not Mobile) and in transport refrigeration a review by the Commission is foreseen by 31 December 2007, accompanied, if appropriate, by legislative proposals by 31 December 2008.

By 4 July 2011, the Commission shall publish a report based on the experience of the application of this Regulation, taking into account further IPCC Assessment reports and best available techniques and best environmental practices. Among other points, foams, some SF6 applications, possible extension of use bans are quoted.

MAC Directive

DIRECTIVE 2006/40/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 May 2006 relating to emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles and amending Council Directive 70/156/EEC

The Directive covers the use of HFCs in Mobile Air Conditioning for passengers’ cars only.

Entry into force (Art. 11) :
The Directive will enter into force on 4 July 2006 (20 days after publication). It will have to be transposed into national law by 4 January 2008 (Art.10).

Legal Basis :
Internal Market (Article 95 of EU Treaty)

GWP (Art.3.8)
The GWP data to be used are those published in the IPCC Third Assessment Report (IPCC-TAR)

Each time the Directive mentions “fluorinated greenhouse gases with a global warming potential higher than 150 from air-conditioning systems” – we will write “HFC-134a”.

Implementation (Art. 7)
By 4 July 2007, the Commission will define the administrative provisions for an EC type-approval of vehicles, and a harmonised leakage detection test for measuring the leakage rate of HFC-134a from air-conditioning systems.

Type-approval (Art. 5)
One year after the definition of the leakage detection test, type-approval for new car models shall only be granted if the leakage of HFC-134a will be less than either 40 g/year in the case of a simple evaporator system or 60 g/year in the case of a dual evaporator system (Art. 5).

Two years later, the same leakage limits will be mandatory for all new cars.

By 1 January 2011, HFC-134a will be banned for air conditioning systems for new vehicle models.

By 1 January 2017, HFC-134a will be banned for all new vehicles.

Review (Art. 8)
By 4 July 2011 the Commission shall examine whether the Directive should be extended to other categories of vehicles.