The Ozone Regulation has two objectives:
- Fulfil the obligations of the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer, to which the EU and all of its Member States are parties.
- Ensure a higher level of ambition in the EU than required by the Protocol, in areas where this is technically and economically feasible.
Measures & requirements
The Ozone Regulation imposes a number of requirements across the EU, aimed at minimising the use and thus emissions of ozone-depleting substances.
In general, ozone-depleting substances are banned altogether, but there are some exemptions that allow and control the use of such substances in certain specific applications where there are no feasible alternatives.
The most important provisions concern:
- General prohibitions to produce, place on the market, import or export ozone depleting substances -including in equipment - as well as a prohibition to use methyl bromide for quarantine and pre-shipment treatment of goods (Articles 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12)
- Exemptions allowing the use of the substances as feedstock, as process agent in specified processes by certain companies and in essential laboratory and analytical processes, as well as temporary exemptions for critical uses of halons in certain equipment (Articles 7, 8, 10, 13)
- Quota allocation to importers and producers (Articles 10(2), 16(1))
- Licensing of imports and exports (Articles 15, 17, 18)
- Registration for essential laboratory and analytical uses (Article 10(4))
- Labelling requirements for containers and equipment with ozone-depleting substances (Articles 7(2), 8(3), 10(3), 11(3) and 11(6))
- Technical requirements during reclamation and destruction of ozone-depleting substances (Article 22)
- Control of leakage and emission when using the ozone-depleting substances (Article 23)
- Annual reporting by national authorities (Article 26)
- Annual reporting by undertakings (Article 27)
- Requirements to perform national inspections (Article 28)
In 2019, the European Commission published an evaluation of the Ozone Regulation to examine its implementation and performance across the EU.
The outcomes of the evaluation were:
- The Regulation is achieving its objectives, i.e. it is:
- ensuring compliance with the international agreements on the protection of the ozone layer and
- having a high level of ambition for protecting the ozone layer and since emissions from ozone depleting substances are also climate-warning, the emission reduction is also mitigating climate change.
- The Regulation remains highly relevant and has a clear EU added value. Only a common, harmonised EU approach can implement the Montreal Protocol’s obligations and respect internal market rules.
- The Regulation is in general well aligned with relevant EU and international legislation but some further coherence is achievable.
- The Regulation is efficient, but some results may be achievable through simpler, less resource intensive activities.
Based on the results of the evaluation, the Commission started in 2020 an impact assessment to examine if and how it can further improve the Regulation. The policy options that are being investigated aim to:
- Achieve a higher level of emission reduction in light of the European Green Deal
- Improve the efficiency of the Ozone Regulation, while preserving effective controls and preventing illegal activities
- Ensure good monitoring
- Improve the coherence of the Ozone Regulation
The Ozone Regulation is complemented by more specific EU rules and procedures regarding certain uses of ozone-depleting substances:
- Commission Regulation (EU) 537/2011 on the mechanism for the allocation of quantities of controlled substances allowed for laboratory and analytical uses
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 291/2011 on essential uses of controlled substances other than hydrochlorofluorocarbons for laboratory and analytical purposes
- Commission Decision 2010/372/EU on the use of controlled substances as process agents (updated in 2013 )
Other ozone-related responsibilities
The European Commission is also responsible for reporting to the UNEP Ozone Secretariat on uses and consumption of ozone-depleting substances in all EU Member States. The UNEP Ozone Secretariat gathers this data in order to monitor international compliance with the Montreal Protocol.