Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the European Commission



  The Chair pointed out the need to raise awareness among those affected by the new Regulation. One means was the newly created DG XI ozone website.

  Mr Rosenqvist introduced a document setting out what information would need to be provided to the different target groups affected by the new regulation.

  Member States considered this a useful document. Germany stressed the need to identify the companies involved and/or the sectors affected. France asked whether the commission could prepare a two or three page note for each sector setting out provisions relevant to them which could then be translated as required.

  The Chair asked participants what Member States had already done in terms of dissemination of information. Austria and Netherlands reported on successful co-operation and with industry groups to make sure national legislation was known and adhered to and stressed the usefulness of industry groups as an information channel. The United Kingdom intended to start a three-level information campaign: (a) publication of brochures/leaflets, addressed to industry; (b) website page; (c) publication of articles in relevant trade journals.

  The Chair asked participants whether they thought that targeted information, co-ordinated at Community level, would be useful.

  Member States generally agreed that co-ordinated information sharing was needed, ie best practice in destruction and recovery as well as availability of alternatives. Financial aspects/constraints were certainly also an aspect to be considered. It was agreed that the Commission would prepare two-three page sector-specific information notes covering the requirements of the new regulation.[3]

  It was also agreed that links should be created between national web-sites and the Commission zone web-site.

  Italy raised the question of CFC/halon quantities to be destroyed. Did the EU have sufficient destruction capacities to destroy all CFCs/halons that would be returned? They asked whether it was possible to calculate the quantities the EU had to dispose of and noted the need for co-ordination with waste-legislation. The Chair said that the Commission could consider making such calculations, dependent on what data MS could provide.


  First, the table on "CFC and halon destruction" was discussed.

  France pointed out the difficulty of gathering information on quantities destroyed since there were no obligations to report. Furthermore, they wondered whether a 1992 report on destruction by UN could be updated as it referred to several destruction facilities that did not exist.

  A "tour de table" was undertaken to obtain recent data on destruction. As not all Member States/provided data, it was agreed that an updated table would be circulated as soon as Member States had reported their 1997-98 data to the Commission.[4]

  The figures reported by Member States with use-bans in force indicated that only relatively small amounts had been recovered and destroyed. The Chair concluded that the Community as a whole could be facing a difficult situation unless more CFCs/halons were recovered and ways found to avoid unnecessary emissions.

  The United Kingdom asked other Member States with experience of recovery and destruction to provide information about how their systems worked so that "best practice" could be identified.

  Netherlands stressed the need to consider different options to cut the costs of disposal of CFCs/halons. They referred to a technology developed at the Technical university of Delft and the possibility of exporting recovered CFCs/halons to developing countries. Sweden described their scheme whereby a destruction fee was added to import prices. No destruction costs were passed on to end-users. France asked whether perhaps taxing of HFCs (substitutes) could be an option to raise funds for destruction of CFCs/halons.

  The Chair concluded that there should be further reflection on a Community strategy/policy for recovery and destruction. A working group could prove useful in that respect. Member States with national legislation in force requiring decommissioning were asked to send information outlining how their scheme worked.

  Messrs Rosenqvist and Tierney outlined the import and essential use statistics for 1998 and highighted once again the problem with the low return-rate of used licenses.

  Member States reported that they had different procedures for returning those licenses. The Commission asked Member States to liase with their customs authorities to try to improve the return rate.



  The Chair gave an overview of the current state of play. Under the new Amsterdam Treaty, the new regulation would fall under the co-decision procedure.

  On 18 October, the next meeting of the European Parliament Environment Committee would take place. The rapporteur would then present her proposals for amendments. Most likely, the Parliament would eventually propose some amendments and if so, a conciliation procedure would be necessary, ie Council and European Parliament would have to negotiate to find a compromise. The plenary session of the European Parliament would take place at the beginning of December, which, unfortunately, coincided with the Beijing meeting.

  Finland said that the Finnish Presidency encouraged the European Parliament to go for an accelerated procedure, but so far no decisions had been taken. Austria had spoken to Mrs Fleming, the Austrian vice-rapporteur of the Environment Committee, to underline their wish to speed up the procedure.

  The Chair explained that the Commission was also taking the necessary contacts with the European Parliament, in particular with the rapporteur.

  There was wide agreement that some clarifications on definitions were necessary. The question was when these technical adaptations could best be incorporated into the text. Any wording leading to misunderstandings or misinterpretations should be avoided. Germany and Netherlands were wondering whether and to what extent they would still be involved in the negotiating process and how they could exert some influence. Finland (Presidency) confirmed that the Environment Committee would probably want to strengthen the common position. Any adaptations by European Parliament would probably be taken up in the conciliation procedure. They will inform Member States on procedures for conciliation.


Enforcement of the new regulation (Oslo workshop)

  Mr Rosenqvist summarised the results of the Oslo workshop. The topic was the recovery of CFC from domestic refrigerators where both foams and refrigeration circuits were concerned. The aim was to establish the best available technology for recovery. High recovery rates were considered possible, although, especially for foams, at high costs. A common standard for industry would be desirable. The result of the workshop was to establish an industry group to define the best available technology. The question would also be where such a standard could fit (BAT-notes, WEEE-directive, etc). Few commented on the topic but various comments were made concerning the wording of the new regulation and the definition of use. The Chair agreed that there remained some ambiguity.[5]



Progress on the adoption of the new Regulation

  Mr Rosenqvist informed about the informal conciliation going on for the moment (so called "trilogue"). Three amendments were still outstanding. However, formal conciliation seemed very likely, which would mean going back to the starting point. Such formal conciliation would start in April.

  The Chair pointed out that the threat of conciliation might lead to a compromise. If no compromise was reached, that would entail a heavy procedure.

Clarification of definitions: Proposed structure and examples

  Mr Rosenqvist referred to the table which has to be considered as a first attempt to list items where clarifications seem necessary. The aim was to reach a [6][common view] [shared understanding] on the new Council Regulation. Member States were invited to provide comments on this table in writing [by mid March]. In any case, this document would evolve over time.[7]

  Member States pointed out that some clarifications existed already in other documents. In consequence, we should use existing definitions rather than create new ones. During subsequent discussion of some of the items, it became clear that there existed already some different interpretations.

  Dr Batchelor pointed out that one expert from the "Halon Group" would help in clarifying some of the points.

  This document could perhaps be discussed further when a CFC meeting was convened.

  Netherlands raised the point of the substance Bromochloromethane = Halon 1011. They had sent a letter to the Commission before Beijing outlining the problem. At the time, the Dutch authorities were not aware of the important use of this substance (three major industries which would not be able to replace the substance immediately). Netherlands was wondering how the problem could be solved.

  It was agreed that the Commission as well as Netherlands should try to raise this point in future discussions (Coreper).

  The Chair suggested that all companies wishing to ask for exemptions under the new Regulation could already send in their anticipated application. This would enable the Commission to speedily process these requests once the new Regulation had entered into force.

  Discussion then focussed on the concrete date of application for the new Regulation. Member States argued that a certain deadline was necessary in order to prepare national legislations. The Chair emphasised that this point should also be discussed in the Council.

Implications on users, Member States and Commission.

  For this table, too, Member States were invited to provide comments by mid-March.[8]


  Table with clarification/interpretation of potentially ambiguous articles in the New Ozone Regulation—version 26 April

Affects this ODS chemical Reference in the Regulation Phrase/subject Interpretation/examples Reason(s)
CFCs/HCFCsArticle 15.1 Does recovery obligation on refrigeration, AC and heat pump equipment include any CFCs/HCFCs in insulating forms? NoIt is the Commission's understanding that the clarification proposed here is in line with the intention of the Council during the negotiations of the new Regulation in Council[9]
All ODSArticle 15.1 What are environmentally acceptable destruction methods Further assessment required by Commission Further assessment required by Commission
All ODSArticle 15.3 What is to be considered with "practicable"—

Any need for guidelines?
Further assessment required by Commission Further assessment required by Commission


  No minutes as these were informal discussions.



  The Commission briefly described EC 2038/2000 that allowed the export of CFC-MDIs and the use of medical drug pumps, and EC 2039/2000 that established 1999 rather than 1996 as the reference year for the allocation of HCFC quota allocations for producers and importers for the years 2001, 2002 and 2003.

  Five items on the Clarification Table were discussed, but the shortage of time prevented others from consideration.

  "Existing cargo ships" in Annex VII were interpreted by at least two Member States as relating to all ships except passenger ships and possibly fishing vessels, and that halon would be exempt for all such ships. Other Member States defined "cargo ships" more narrowly and considered them to be vessels equipped to carry flammable liquids such as oil tankers, and halon would only be exempt for these uses. One Member State commented that the IMO has banned halon systems in all vessels produced after 1994. Some Member States considered Commission clarification helpful but full legal standing was only possible by modification of the Annex VII which must be carried out annually. The meeting therefore supported the Commission producing a draft of the text of the Annex VII for consideration by the Member States on 25 October.

  The Commission described the Legal Service interpretation of halon exports under Article 11(1)(d). This concluded that exports under the Regulation would be permitted in cylinders of any size and number as long as there was evidence that the exports were to meet critical use needs as defined under Annex VII. Some Member States may not be able to define the type of cylinders as importing countries argue that this could convey confidential information about their military equipment. Some Member States currently have restrictions on the export of halon (See Table 1, Member States please send information if not done so already), and the enforcement of this legislation would depend on the interventions of the national EC authorities and/or the authorities of the importing country. The Committee agreed that halon exports should be authorised by the Commission in the same way that other exports will be authorised. The Commission will request exporters define the volume of halon exports by company and destination, and a copy of the information will be submitted to Member States. This information will be particularly important at a time when some importing countries consider the EC is "dumping" unwanted halon. If the halon exports reach limits not tolerated by importing countries an Amendment to the Regulation could be considered.

  The use of CFCs for calibration of German destruction and recovery equipment was considered by the Committee to be a Laboratory Use and exempt control. However, Member States suggested some other non-ODS method be developed to calibrate such machinery.

  The Committee agreed that foam containing CFC was classified as a "product" rather than an "controlled substance" and therefore came under Article 16(3) rather than 16(1). Article 16(3) calls for recovery of ODS, if practicable. Some Member States considered that recovery from foam has been practicable for many years as CFCs are recovered from both foam and from the cooling circuit of refrigerators, with about two-thirds of the CFCs recovered from foam and one-third from the cooling circuit. Large sandwich panels could be cut into smaller pieces with minimal loss of CFCs from the foam. BAT/BEP Guidelines were being produced and will be submitted to the Commission shortly. Therefore, while CFC recovery from foam may not be practicable in some Member States now, there was opportunity for CFC refrigerators to be sent to Member States that currently have CFC recovery capability. In addition, Member States may wish to encourage CFC recovery through other directives such as Waste Electrical or by developing other policy initiatives to encourage the recovery of CFCs.[10]

  Finland asked the Committee if it could agree to interpret the Article 11 exemption for "personal effects" to only cover such refrigeration equipment which are exported when person is moving his place of residence outside EU. Other Member States did not raise objections to this interpretation. It was noted that the Protocol had discussed Article 5(1) Parties implementing legislation to prevent such imports, that Poland and other CEITs had a draft Decision underway for submission in Burkina Faso in 2000, and these were considered by the Committee to be the most appropriate courses of action.

  The Commission requested Member States send any other comments that they might have in regard to the Clarification Table as soon as possible.

  Responsibilities of Member States and the Commission under the new Regulation.

  Each of the 36 responsibilities were examined and amendments made to the text on the basis of the discussions. A revised Table of Responsibilities is attached (Table 2).



  The Commission, United Kingdom and Finland had provided written comments prior to the meeting which were circulated to the Committee for consideration. These modifications were accepted without comment. In addition, Italy requested that "emergency" be changed to "reserve" in order to be consistent with uses of these two words in the Protocol. United Kingdom requested that Article 16(2) be included as well as 16(3) in the Committee's consideration of whether "foam-containing-CFC" was classified as a "product" rather than an "controlled substance". The Chair agreed to consider the United Kingdom's request and report to the Committee.[11] Finland requested a change to their submission on "personal effects" to more accurately report their statement.

  Given the agreements above, the Minutes of the First Meeting of the Management Committee on EC 2037/2000 held 4-6 October were adopted.

  Finland raised the issue of exports of "personal effects" and requested the Committee consider the following wording that Finland submitted:

    The Committee agreed to the interpretation of Article 11(1) that the personal effects exempted from the export of "equipment containing" refers to refrigerant equipment which a person is exporting only when moving outside the EC or other comparable situations.

  The Committee questioned whether it should specifically relate to refrigerators or whether Finland would consider making it more general by, for example, including MDI and air-conditioning equipment. The Commission thought other comparable situations could pose difficulties in interpretation and implementation for border authorities. In addition, the ability of Member States authorities to restrict the volume of exports of CFC refrigerators varied between Member States. It was noted that the Protocol was developing a Draft Decision led by Poland that would allow Article 5(1) Parties to take steps to limit CFC exports in equipment and that a contribution to the Draft by the EC in this area could be of benefit.[12] In addition, Customs Authorities had the competence to take the most appropriate action, and Finland should work with its own Customs agency in this regard. The Commission agreed to find a definition of "personal effects" via the Commission Customs Authorities that could be helpful to Finland in clarifying the requirements of this section of the regulation.



  The Commission thanked Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Finland and the United Kingdom for returning the completed surveys and summarised the responses (dpm[13]). The Commission summarised the ad hoc meeting (dpm) and described the options that were potentially available to allow the export of compressors and/or fridge-compressor.[14]

  Denmark reported that an export ban was in place and that CFCs are recovered from the foam and compressor in about 250,000 refrigerators per year, and that any export of refrigerators for humanitarian purposes would ultimately result in CFC release. United Kingdom stated that their waste legislation prevented export of refrigerators to another Member State so shipment to recycling facilities outside the United Kingdom was not an option. Of the 2.5 million refrigerators disposed of annually, approximately one million were exported in the past and the remainder were destroyed without CFC recovery mechanisms in place (recovery mechanisms will be in place in 2002). Belgium stated that 70,000 refrigerators were recycled per year and it did not export refrigerators with CFCs in the foam or compressor.

  Germany reported that burning CFC-foam turned copper blue and was a quick test for CFCs where the manufactured date was unknown or not reliable, and that it was in possession of a list that indicated products containing CFCs. Sweden reported that refrigerators after 1995 did not contain CFCs in the foam, but that refrigerators from 1993-95 could contain CFCs in the foam and not the compressor. Germany and Sweden were requested to provide the Commission with further details on the "CFC-foam test" and both lists as Member States could find both useful.

  France stated that other directives under development such as the WEE would require recovery of CFCs from foam and therefore there needed to be a harmonisation of requirements especially, for example, where Article 16 of EC2027/00 currently clashes with WEE.

  United Kingdom pointed out that a considerable trade appeared to exist in the EU for exporting used aircraft, valued at some 3.5 billion euros, and asked who would pay the cost if they were not to be exported. Used military equipment, cars, ships and trains might also be affected if the regulation was enforced, as these could not be exported if they contained CFCs in foam. United Kingdom also asked Commission to clarify what definition applied to "export" under Regulation EC 2037/2000. In the absence of a definition in the Regulation or the Montreal Protocol of "export", use of the definition from the Community Customs Code 2913/92/EEC might cover even aeroplanes leaving EU territory on a temporary basis. Commission agreed to look into this and report back.

  Finland pointed out that the environmental hazard from CFCs released from a refrigerator remained the same globally whether the refrigerator was exported or stayed in the EC. Finland was disappointed to find itself in non-compliance on this issue when it had made considerable effort in successive meetings to get clarification.

  Denmark, Sweden and France said they would be returning the questionnaire with further details shortly.

  The Commission thanked Member States for their comments and agreed to include their useful comments made at this meeting in its paper, to send it for comment to Member States and then to seek legal advice where necessary.


  Not discussed at the meeting.



  The Commission introduced its paper which had been tabled at the meeting.

  Denmark commented that compressors can be retrofitted with non-CFC gases and questioned whether the change included the charge with new refrigerant. The Commission stated that the extent of the conversion proposed in its paper was within the competence of the Member States to enforce.

  Italy considered that the regulation should be enforced with no exports of refrigerators with CFCs permitted. United Kingdom pointed out that CFCs would be present in insulating foam but not in flexible foam and semi-rigid integrated foam. France thought integral-skin foam could contain CFCs. Finland explained that the WEE Dir 1602/11 comes into force 1 January 2002 which will then classify CFC, HCFC and HFC as hazardous wastes and therefore what is required is an integration of Articles 11 and 16 in EC2037/00.

  Based on further discussion, the Commission proposed the following wording as an amendment to Articles 11 of the regulation in the section on exemptions:

    Products containing CFC rigid insulating foam or integral skin foam other than domestic refrigerators and freezers.

  Most Member States agreed that an amendment that focused on the exemption was most likely to meet with approval rather than any adjustment to the header text in Article 11. Denmark was concerned that the proposed change did not open up a loophole for the export of CFC-containing products. The Commission agreed to circulate the legal text for comment by Member States as soon as possible.

  Following from a request at the March meeting, the Commission confirmed on the basis of consultations with its legal service that a product leaving the EU temporarily such as an aircraft flight could not be considered "export", whereas selling an aircraft would be considered "export". The United Kingdom considered this definition differed from the one provided by their legal service. The Commission agreed to provide the definition in writing to the Member States for their further consideration.


  The Commission called for comments on this paper that sought to clarify parts of the regulation so as to allow its uniform implementation. Italy questioned the value of such a document as it considered the document to be without legal standing as it could not be enforced in a court of law. The Commission considered that a judge would be interested in the Commission's view and was responding to previous requests by Member States to assist with guidelines where possible. It was not a legal document but the Commission did consult with legal services, and it was therefore important to make best endeavours in clarification. There was a balance that had to be reached between guidance and changing the intent of the regulation or being too prescriptive—the Commission hoped that Member States would be of assistance in this area.[15]

  Discussions were held on all questions except 19 which is subject to release as a draft Decision by written procedure (see 3. Annex VII—Critical Uses of Halon). Responses to questions 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16 and 17 remain unchanged. Responses to questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 13, 14, 15 and 18 were changed as a result of discussions.

  Regarding the definition of equipment for refrigeration and air-conditioning produced after 31 December 2000, the following elements, subject to confirmation, shall be agreed:

  1.  The retrofit of a system utilising CFCs with HCFCs is possible;

  2.  The replacement of an essential part or component, generally only once, is possible provided that this neither gives rise to an increase in refrigerant capacity, nor an increase in emissions nor a significant increase in the size of the system. Some Member States thought replacement was generally only once as they were concerned about issues such as the possibility of technical failure in new components which would require them to be replaced again.

  Belgium stated that it intends to send further questions to the Commission on foams (Q10), based on a special group that is being established, as two pages of clarification supplied by the Commission are not sufficient. The Commission agreed to respond to the questions as soon as they are sent, and added the existing text is based on advice from the TEAP subcommittee. Belgium also asked for a copy of the citations to support the general ineffectiveness of virtually impermeable films which the Commission will supply from the TEAP report.

  Austria commented that in Question 14, about 200,000 refrigerators were recycled per year. Of this volume, only 1-3 per cent leaves Austria as personal effects, and therefore the major effort should be placed on recycling and recovery.

  Questions 15 and 17 related to the recovery of used ODS, in particular CFCs contained in foam parts of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. The Commission considered that Articles 16(1) and 16(2) required the recovery of CFC from any foam contained within refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. This would include sandwich panels used to insulate large refrigeration units and domestic refrigerators and freezers. Article 16(3) then required the recovery, if practicable, of used ODS from products and equipment that did not fall within the scope of Articles 16(1) and 16(2).[16]

  The United Kingdom stated that it was prepared to accept, if this was the consensus view, that Article 16(2) required the recovery of used ODS from both the compressor and the insulating foam. The United Kingdom stressed, however, that the interpretation of Article 16(2) should be the same as for Article 16(1) for larger refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. Based on experience, the United Kingdom stated that was not always technically possible to recover used ODS from the foam in larger equipment and asked whether other Member States faced similar difficulties. Some Member States (Austria, Sweden, Italy) stated that they had enterprises that cut up sandwich panels to destroy the CFCs in the foam, usually by incineration in the process of recovering the metal. Other Member States were not sure of their activities to recover CFCs from foam in their respective countries.

  The United Kingdom also considered that it was not technically possible to recycle and reclaim CFCs as required by 16(1) which meant that the CFCs had to be recovered during servicing and maintenance or before dismantling or [before] disposal of equipment. Italy and the Commission commented that enterprises can extract the CFC then destroy it or incinerate the CFCs in the foam simultaneously, and it was therefore practical to do this.

  The Commission considered recovery of ODS from foam applied equally to 16(2) and 16(1) and it believed that some Member States were already recovering ODS from foam in equipment listed in 16(1). The Commission noted that by 1 January 2002 the United Kingdom will have in place facilities to recover ODS from domestic refrigerators which would include recovery of ODS from the foam. The Commission also noted that, unlike 16(3), there was no "if practicable" clause in 16(1) and 16(2) and did not consider that any component of the equipment listed was excluded from the mandatory of recovery/destruction of used ODS.

  The Commission agreed to further discuss the issues relating to 16(1), 16(2) and 16(3) in Montreal with Member States. In order to make the best use of the time on this issue in Montreal, the Commission asked all Member States to write by 29 June with information on their experiences relating to the implementation of Article 16.

  On Question 18 related to inspection of refrigeration systems, the Commission stated that Member States should communicated to it the minimum standards required and are required to do so by 31 December 2001. Based on these communications, the Commission would then be in a position to comment and provide an overview, as mandated in the regulation. The Commission understands the Netherlands and Sweden already have standards in place and looks forward to hearing about these and other standards in due course.

  Denmark requested that the FAQ document be translated into Member States languages. The Commission said that this would be possible once the answers had been finalised.

3   See note A in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 71. Back

4   See note B in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 71. Back

5   See note C in the Chronology of Communictions, Ev 71. Back

6   Footnote written 20 February 2002: Square bracketed text would normally be removed after the Minutes have been approved and adopted. They have been inadvertently left in these Final Minutes. There was neither discussion nor dispute of the text in square brackets. Back

7   See note D in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 72. Back

8   See footnote E in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 72. Back

9   See footnote F in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 72. Back

10   See note G in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 73. Back

11   See note H in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 73. Back

12   See note I in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 74. Back

13   Footnote written 20 February 2002: Distributed Prior to Meeting. Back

14   See note J in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 74. Back

15   See note K in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 74. Back

16   See note L in the Chronology of Communications, Ev 74. Back

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