The EU Regulation on ozone-depleting substances requires member states to set minimum qualification requirements for personnel involved in the recovery and destruction of ODSs and the minimisation of leakage. The main ODSs are CFC and HCFC refrigerants, halons and the pesticide methyl bromide.
The UK argued that voluntary qualifications were sufficient - although experts claim leakage rates from commercial refrigeration systems could be reduced.
Many tons of CFCs also appear to be illegally vented to the atmosphere before they reach recycling plants and the director of a bogus fridge recycling firm was jailed last year (ENDS Report 354, p 65 ).
The Commission disagrees with the UK and is undertaking infraction proceedings.
The draft regulations specify the minimum qualifications for personnel handling ODSs in a number of sectors, including refrigeration and air-conditioning, fire protection using halons and fumigation using methyl bromide.
They cover personnel servicing or disposing of waste equipment containing ODSs and those recycling or destroying the substances.
In practice, says DEFRA, most personnel handling ODSs already hold the necessary qualifications. Those that do not will have six months to gain them once the regulations come into force.
DEFRA expects the regulations to be laid before Parliament in June.