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  • Writer's pictureAlinea Customs

Obligations when importing equipment pre-charged with hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) into Great Britain

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

Alinea Customs provide consultancy services in understanding corporate obligations in relation importing equipment pre-charged with fluorinated gas. We can also advise on operational compliance within Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the European Union and create internal policy documents.


The fluorinated gas (F gas) regulation is designed to reduce emissions of fluorinated gases. Importers of equipment pre-charged with fluorinated gas, for example stationary refrigeration units, air-conditioning equipment and industrial chillers should be aware of their responsibilities to comply with the F gas Regulation.


Failure to register on the F gas portal if required can lead to serious consequences such as penalties of up to £100,000 per incident, and legal action.


The F gas regulation is a consequence of the legislative framework established by The United Nations Framework Convention on climate change and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.


The objective of EU Regulation No 517/2014 intends to limit fluorinated gas emissions to two-thirds in comparison with 2015 levels, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% of 1990 levels by 2050.


The F gas Portal


It is a legal obligation for operators that import equipment pre-charged with hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – the most common type of fluorinated gas (F gas) equivalent to 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) or more in a calendar year into Great Britain to register on the F gas portal:


· Register on the F gas portal

· Get quota authorisation from a quota holder

· Get quota delegations from an authorisation manager


How to obtain quota authorisations or delegations


Once a company has registered on the F gas portal, and holds an organisational ID, they should contact a quota holder or authorisation manager.

Once a company has agreed to purchase quota authorisation or delegations, a quota holder or authorisation manager will authorise the use of their quota through the Manage your fluorinated gas (F gas) quota service.

The Environment Agency will send an email once the quota authorisations or delegations are ready to use.


Using the quota authorisations or delegations


Importers of F gas must complete their transactions before 31 December for them to count towards that same calendar year.


To cover goods placed on the market between 1 January and 31 December, the importer must have enough quota authorisations or delegations in their F gas account before 31 December.


Traders can carry over any unused authorisations or delegations to the following calendar

year.


When quota authorisation or delegation is not required


It is not a requirement to apply for quota authorisations or delegations in circumstances when:


· F gas is solely imported into Great Britain for re-export and not to place on the market. In this circumstance importers can use the inward processing procedure

· For equipment that does not contain HFCs but uses other gases, such as hydrocarbons

· For equipment that is “empty” of HFCs but contains a holding charge, such as nitrogen – charge the equipment with HFCs purchased from a supplier that has imported bulk HFCs into Great Britain using their quota

· The HFCs that have already been placed on the market of Great Britain

· For equipment that is imported to destroy


If traders do not get enough quota authorisations or delegations


It is not permitted to import equipment pre-charged with F gas into Great Britain if the importer does not have enough quota authorisations or delegations. In circumstances where this was to occur, a civil penalty would be applied.


Declaration of conformity


When importing refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pump equipment charged with HFCs equivalent to more than 100 more of carbon dioxide in a year, the importer must certify that the HFCs in the equipment are covered by a quota authorisation or delegations. This is arranged through a legal representative of the company completing a declaration of conformity.


Customs obligations


The importer is required to inform the customs agent that the equipment is pre-charged with F gas, and provide the agent with a declaration of conformity in order to clear the

shipment through customs.


Following the import, send:


· the completed declaration of conformity, and

· import customs declaration paperwork


to HMRC for each import, and to the verifier as part of the annual reporting process.


Reporting imports of F gas


It is a legal obligation to record and report all imports of F gas, and equipment pre-charged with F gas.


Exporting equipment pre-charged with F gas


Exports of equipment pre-charged with HFCs to the EU, including Northern Ireland must comply with the EU F gas regulations.


Text of the declaration of conformity


Declaration of conformity with Article 14 of Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council as amended


We [insert the name of company, the VAT identification number and for importers of equipment insert the GB F gas registration ID], declare under our sole responsibility that when placing on the market pre-charged equipment, which we import to or manufacture in Great Britain, the hydrofluorocarbons contained in that equipment are accounted for within the quota system referred to in Chapter IV of Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 as amended:

[please tick the relevant option(s); coverage by the quota system is achieved by one or more of the options below]


A. we hold authorisation(s) issued in accordance with Article 18(2) of Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 and registered in the registry referred to in Article 17 of that Regulation, at the time of release for free circulation to use the quota of a producer or importer of hydrofluorocarbons subject to Article 15 of Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 as amended that cover(s) the quantity of hydrofluorocarbons contained in the equipment.


B. [for importers of equipment only] the hydrofluorocarbons contained in the equipment have been placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), subsequently exported and charged into the equipment outside GB, and the undertaking that placed the hydrofluorocarbons on the market made a declaration stating that the quantity of hydrofluorocarbons has been or will be reported as placed on the market in GB and that it has not been and will not be reported as direct supply for export in the meaning of Article 15(2)(c) of Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 as amended pursuant to Article 19 of Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 as amended and Section 5C of the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1191/2014 (2) as amended.


C. [for equipment manufactured in GB only] the hydrofluorocarbons charged into the equipment were placed on the market by a producer or importer of hydrofluorocarbons subject to Article 15 of Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 as amended.

[name and position of legal representative] [signature of legal representative] [date]


Within the United Kingdom, The Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (Amendment) Regulations 2018 provides further information on UK specific requirements for meeting the legislation.


This Statutory Instrument facilitates the enforcement of EU Regulation 514/2014 within the United Kingdom and designates the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as the enforcing body, setting out offences and penalties, and designating certification and training bodies.


Alinea Customs provide specialist consultancy services in understanding corporate obligations and responsibilities in relation to fluorinated gas compliance, and work with organisations to implement response trackers to collate data from suppliers concerning the f gas used within supply chain activities, calculate the carbon dioxide equivalent of emissions, provide reporting on banned substances and procurement strategy, and implement carbon neutral and sustainability agendas across supply chain activities.


For further information please contact customs@alineacustoms.com.

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