Correspondence from the Department of
the Environment, Transport and the Regions to the European Commission
8 January 2001
EC REGULATION 2037/2000: EXPORTSARTICLE
We have now discussed on a number of occasions
the difficulties created by Article 11.1 of EC Regulation 2037/2000
on substances that deplete the ozone layer to the UK export trade
in refrigeration equipment. I am writing formally to put on record
our concerns and to suggest that we meet to discuss the issue
as soon as possible.
There is a large trade from the UK and other
Member States of second hand fridges to developing countries,
mostly in West Africa, but also the rest of Africa and further
afield. There are economic, humanitarian and environmental reasons
to encourage this trade in fridges where the CFC refrigerant has
been replaced by more acceptable alternatives. Used fridges are,
in many cases, the only source of affordable domestic refrigeration
available to people in developing countriesthe alternative
is no refrigeration with implications for the preservation of
both food and medicines. From what we have been told by the industry,
the trade could be worth roughly £30 million each year to
UK companies, and has economic benefits in the importing countries.
A case can be made on sustainable development grounds that it
is better for the fridges to continue to have a useful life where
they are needed than be needlessly scrapped now in the European
Union. Greenpeace UK and Greenpeace International support the
export trade on these grounds, provided the CFC refrigerant has
been removed prior to export.
As you know, Article 11 prevents the export
of equipment containing CFCs and other controlled substances.
We understand that it was the Commission's intention to stop the
export of equipment containing CFC refrigerants, on the grounds
that these would continue to be needed for servicing the equipment,
but not the export of such products containing CFCs in the insulating
foam. This was done in an effort to comply with Decisions VII/32
and IX/9 taken by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, both of
which refer to equipment that uses or relies upon ODS technology.
As insulating foam is neither a technology nor does it rely on
a continued supply of CFCs, it would seem to us that it was also
not the intention of the Parties to prevent exports of equipment
containing CFC blown foam. However, Article 11.1 is drafted in
such a way that it prohibits the export of refrigeration equipment,
whether or not the CFC refrigerant has been removed and replaced
with a non-ODS alternative. At present only one or two Member
States have working plants that are able to recover CFCs from
insulating foam during the destruction of the fridgethe
rest are in the same position as the UK.
Currently, a fridge destroyed in the UK, Germany
or Finland would harm the ozone layer in just the same way as
the same fridge scrapped after 15 years of further useful life
in Ghana, Nigeria or Burkina Faso.
We would welcome some suggestions from you on
how the UK and other Member States can, perhaps for a limited
time period, get over the problem caused by the drafting of Article
11.1. It may also be helpful to have a meeting later this month,
together with other Member States that have similar difficulties
(eg Belgium, Germany, Finland and France) to explore possible