Recently, CMS, an international law firm, was commissioned by refrigerant manufacturer EFCTC to study the implementation of F-gas regulations in 12 EU member states (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom).
The results show that countries differ widely in their implementation, with some countries having detailed criminal or civil regulations, while others have not even fully met the 2014 regulatory requirements. Dr Nick Campbell, chairman of the EFCTC, said: "Our research shows that there are significant differences in the implementation of regulations to combat the illegal smuggling of HCSCs.
" Worried that disclosure would lead HFC smugglers to countries that failed to enforce F-gas regulations, Dr Campbell declined to give specific information, saying: "We will engage individually with member states to discuss their implementation strategies constructively to achieve our common goals." At the same time, we will share our findings with the European Commission to give them a more comprehensive picture of the differences.
"It is estimated that illegal imports of HFC refrigerants from Europe account for 20 per cent of the legal import quota.
The study also showed that cases of HFC smuggling were rarely brought before the courts, despite the seizure of large quantities of illegal products by several member States.
The EFCTC expects this to change in the near future as many member states step up measures to prevent illegal trade at borders, check import quotas and ensure that containers meet EU transport and use legal requirements. Campbell added: "We are confident that our findings will encourage member states to implement resolute and dissuasive punitive measures to prevent the smuggling of HCSFs into the EU." In addition, we are considering a follow-up study on the implementation and enforcement of other Member States not covered by the first legal work.
The EFCTC is increasingly trying to stop the illegal trade in HFCs, claiming that such refrigerants have slowed the pace of reducing global warming alternatives, increased emissions of high GWP HFC, and the loss of revenue from smuggling has caused economic damage to member states and put legitimate companies at a disadvantage.