A Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) on the proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) on substances that deplete the ozone layer was undertaken in December 1998. It estimated that the total costs of compliance for business, charities and voluntary organisations would be £370 million. The report put that figure in context by stating that under the then current EC Regulation (3093/94), it was estimated that end-users would make investments totalling £4 billion spread over the next 10 to 15 years. The main effect of the new regulation would be to bring forward the timing of some of those investments.
The RIA did not estimate compliance costs for the extraction of ozone-depleting substances from the insulating foam in domestic refrigeration equipment as the draft proposal did not make it mandatory. It was not until June 2001 that the European Commission gave EU member states its final interpretation of the regulation that did require the recovery of controlled substances in the insulating foam of domestic fridges and freezers. My Department recently announced a payment of £6 million to English local authorities to cover their costs of handling fridges and freezers until March 2002. We are urgently assessing the impacts of the regulation, including the costs, and will determine what further action is required beyond that.