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In line with Kigali amendments to Montreal Protocol | 05 November 2019

In line with Kigali amendments to Montreal Protocol

Ms Chang-Waye (Photo: Joena Meme)

Cabinet approves amendments to environment and ozone regulations

 

Cabinet last week approved six proposed amendments to the Environment Protection (Ozone) Regulations 2010 to incorporate provisions of the Kigali Amendments to the Montreal Protocol which Seychelles ratified on August 18 this year.

The proposed amendments, most of which are set to take effect as from January 1, 2020, aims to bring the country up to par with the requirements of the Kigali amendments to the Montreal Protocol, towards the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by cutting their production and consumption, with a goal to achieve over 80 percent reduction in global consumption by 2047.

The first approved amendment is for the inclusion of Annex F group I and II gases of the Kigali Amendment, including refrigerants used in air-conditioning units, fridges and cooling equipment in the revised law on account that such gasses still contribute towards global warming, despite not having the ozone-depleting effects. As per the Kigali Amendment, member states are required to destroy Annex Group II HFC gasses in line with timelines and processes set out in Article 2J and Article 5.

According to senior ozone officer at the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (MECC), Inese Chang-Waye, cabinet also approved the introduction of hydrocarbon and ammonia, natural refrigerants and that do not cause ozone depletion or global warming, along with standards to regulate their use.

“To introduce it, we need to have standards and monitoring to avoid any accidents since hydrocarbon is flammable and if you do not know how to use it, it can cause explosions while ammonia is toxic and if it is not being monitored, it can get released into the atmosphere and can be toxic to human health,” Ms Chang-Waye noted.

The MEECC is working closely with the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) to establish national standard for the use of such gases. Currently, there are factories that make use of ammonia, but they have their own standards which they abide by. A national standard is expected to be enforced by the first quarter of 2020.

Asides from standards to regulate the use of certain gases, a certification and classification mechanism is to be introduced for all practising local and foreign refrigerant technicians, to ensure that they are complying with the laws and are providing services that are up to the expected standard. Technicians will be required to join associations and will be classified according to the type of service they can offer with categorisations for those equipped to work on domestic equipment, commercial equipment and others on central systems.

As for foreign technicians, MEECC is working with the Department of Immigration and the Department of Employment to establish a system by which the Ministry will be informed when foreign nationals are recruited as technicians. The applicants’ certification will be verified by the ministry and subsequently, they will be required to sit an assessment to determine whether they meet the standards and can carry out the work to a satisfactory level.

As the country works towards achieving the provisions set out by the Kigali Amendments and Montreal Protocol, MEECC is calling for all new buildings, to use equipment with less than 100 Global Warming Potential (GWP). Such a requirement is in line with the legal requirements of the Kigali Phase down schedule to commence in 2021.

“As of January 2020, all buildings for which an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), will have to as part of their EIA submit their proposed cooling system and will be required to remain below the 1000 GWP limit,” Ms Chang-Waye stated, noting that buildings with existing cooling systems will not be affected by the new requirement, until the need to replace such equipment arises.

Furthermore, the approved amendment is calling for an environmental levy to be introduced for equipment and refrigeration gasses. As per the amendment, a 5 percent levy will apply for equipment and gases between 100-2000 GWP, an 8 percent levy on equipment and gases between 2000 to 3000 GWP and 10 percent on 3000+ GWP, in addition to Value-Added Tax (VAT). The levy is to be collected by the Customs Department.

As for equipment and gases with zero ozone depleting potential, cabinet approved for a VAT exemption for equipment not considered a threat to the environment and ozone. The law currently applies ad makes VAT exceptions for energy efficient equipment but with the approved amendment, a clause is to be inserted into Paragraph 17 of the first schedule to allow such equipment and gas with zero ozone depleting potential and very low GWP of under 100 to also benefit from VAT exemptions.

More details will be given to the public, contractors, importers and interested stakeholders at a consultative meeting to be held on November 19 from 8.30am at the STC conference hall.

 

Laura Pillay

 

 

 

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