Petrol storage: a change in the law

Petrol storage: a change in the law


Author: Hayley Saunders

The new Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 will come into force on 1 October 2014 and replace existing petrol storage legislation which will be withdrawn.

The regulations revoke eight pieces of legislation, one approved code of practice and an approved document, L93.

Who do the regulations apply to?

  • Workplaces that store petrol and dispense it through manual or electrical pumping from a storage tank (retail and non-retail)
  • Storage of petrol at non-workplace premises e.g. private homes, clubs etc

What are the changes?

The regulations do not change existing health and safety responsibilities but replace the licensing regime with a certification scheme.

The certificate will be issued by the local Petroleum Enforcement Authority (PEA) who will also be responsible for enforcement. Once a certificate is issued it cannot be revoked and any enforcement action must be taken through relevant health and safety legislation e.g. DSEAR.

A storage certificate will, however, become invalid if a prescribed material change takes place or if petrol is not stored at the site for a continuous period exceeding 12 months. A 'prescribed material change' includes:

  • ceasing use of one or more of the petrol storage tanks
  • removing or permanently de-commissioning one or more of the petrol storage tanks
  • installing any tank, pipe work or vapour pipe work associated with the storage and dispensing of petrol
  • installing any petrol pump, any other automotive pump, or dispenser in a new location

All existing licences will remain valid until their expiry date when, if the storage conditions remain unaltered, they will be converted to a storage certificate. The certificate relates to the premises and therefore there is no need to transfer it if there is a change in operator. However, a notification must be made to the PEA at least 28 days before the change takes place.

It is important that all operators that store petrol understand and are compliant with the relevant health and safety obligations. A failure to comply can lead to a fine of up to £20,000 in the Magistrates Court or an unlimited fine in the Crown Court.

Please contact us if you have any queries regarding petrol storage and your obligations.