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Monday, 21 October 2013

Oil Storage Regulations

Harlequin - 650 Litre Bunded Oil Tank

Oil Storage Regulations

The Oil Storage Regulations apply to all new installations in the UK (both domestic and commercial). Oil is the commonest pollutant in the UK, accounting for one quarter of all incidents. These guidelines are intended to help reduce pollution caused by inadequate storage of oil in above ground oil storage tank installations.
Dependent upon your location, you will most likely be covered by either the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage)(England) Regulations 2001 or the Water Environment (Oil Storage)(Scotland) Regulations 2006. Wales and Northern Ireland are exempt but other legislation may apply (additional information below).
Your environmental regulator can serve on you an 'anti pollution works notice' if your site gives rise to, or is at risk of giving rise to, pollution of surface waters or groundwater. This notice will require you to undertake remedial action.
Many drains lead directly to rivers, streams or lakes. If you allow oil to enter these drains, it has the same effect as pouring it directly into the watercourse.
Oil is poisonous to fish and other wildlife and it smothers plants. Just two litres of oil could seriously pollute the volume of fresh water needed to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool and make it undrinkable.
You may be prosecuted and fined if oil from your site enters the ground or watercourses. And you may have to pay substantial clean-up costs. The Oil Storage Regulations are designed to prevent oil spills.

Does your installation require bunding?

Is Secondary Containment of Oil a Legal Requirement?
Oil storage Regulations Definition: Secondary Containment, also often refered to as a bunded fuel storage tank, under the Oil Storage Regulations, an oil storage tank which qualifies should be contained within a secondary containment system totalling no less than 110% of the storage tanks full capacity, a bunded oil tank.
There is a lot of uncertainty as to whether you should ‘bund’ a storage tank or not, the new oil storage regulationsstipulate that if you are either an institute (school) a commercial or an industrial site you should bund almost any oil or fuel storage tank exceeding 200 litres capacity.
You should always seek additional guidance from the environment agency if you propose to install bunded tanks in any location which is within 10 metres of inland coastal waters or 50m of a well or borehole.
Various installations (including domestic oil tanks) require other circumstances to be considered, the chart below considers all eventualities and provides links to relevant web pages where more detailed information can be found.

Is it any kind of oil, petrol, diesel, kerosene?
No requirement
Is it waste mineral oil?
Waste Management Licensing Regulations Apply (As of April 6 2008, the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 (as amended) are being replaced by the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007) in this instance tanks should always be bunded, installations up to 3000L can apply for a simple exemption form (WMX00) otherwise a permit must be obtained for the storage.
Is the oil being stored for onward ditribution?
Refer to the Institute of Petroleum - Environmental Guidelines for Petroleum Distribution Installations. ISBN 085 293 41662
Is the oil stored inside a building?
No requirement under Oil Storage Regulations. Check fire safety section of Building Regulations
Additional guidance in Pollution Prevention Guidelinance Note PPG2 and PPG26
Is the oil stored entirely underground?
Are you storing less than 200 litres of oil?
No requirement under Oil Storage Regulations.
Additional guidance in Pollution Prevention Guidelinance Note PPG2 and PPG26
Are you storing less than 3500L used entirely to heat a farmhouse or other residential property?
is it a new or replacement installation?
Building regulations require the tank to be bunded if the new/replacement storage exceeds 2500 litres.
Other factors may still require you to bund the oil store, refer to section J of the building regulations and OFTEC'sDomestic Oil Storage Leaflet (also see footnote below).
Is the oil stored at a refinery?
Environmental PermittingRegulations 2007applies
Is the installation for agricultural use?
Is it greater than 1500 litres capacity?
Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil Regulations require secondary containment
Is the oil stored at a facility in England?
No requirement under Oil Storage Regulations In England. Scotland is covered by the Water Environment (Oil Storage) Regulations 2006 (Similar regulations are due to be introduced in Northern Ireland and Wales please check with your local Environment Officer.
Additional guidance in Pollution Prevention Guidelinance Note PPG2 and PPG26

Other factors which require a Bunded Tank

Can you see the storage tank vent? If not you are required to bund the tank. An Overfill Prevention Valve will also need to be fitted in this instance.
You should also provide secondary containment (Bunded Tank) if the oil storage tank falls within a 10m of a water course (stream etc). Also use secondar containment if within 50m of a potable water supply or where spillages could run into drains or reach controlled waters.

Section J of the Building Regs

It is unlikely that a fire could be started by a fuel storage tank and it’s contents, However it does need to be protected from a fire that may originate nearby.
For example, tanks should be sited:
  • On a solid base, level and at least 42mm thick, that extends a mimimum of 300mm around the footprint of the tank
  • 1800mm away from non-fire rated eves of a building
  • 1800mm away from openings (such as doors or windows)
  • 1800mm away from any appliance flue terminals
  • 1800mm away from a non-fire rated building or structure (ie: garden shed)
  • 760mm away from non fire rated boundaries (ie: wooden fence)
If it is not possible to meet these requirements, a fire rated barrier with at least 30 minutes protection should be provided, extending 300mm higher and wider than each applicable face of the tank.
Download a copy of Section J of the building regulations.
OFTEC recommend that non domestic tanks equal to or below 3500L capacity should be located a minimum of 2m away from any buildings or boundaries. (6m for tanks above 3500L capacity).
If this is not possible, walls or barriers of at least 60 minutes resistance which extend 900mm beyond each applicable face of the tank should be used. (120 minutes rating for tanks above 3500L capacity).

Planning Permission

Domestic users will need to apply for planning permission to install a heating oil tank when:
  • Greater than 3500L capacity
  • Higher than 3m above ground level
  • Nearer to the public highway than the closest applicable corner of the property*
Planning permission is also required for any domestic storage tank for fuels other than for oil fired heating applications (ie: LPG).
* does not apply if proposed site is greater than 20m from the nearest public highway
If you are installing an oil tank and/or connecting pipe work and you employ an installer registered with one of the related competent person schemes, you will not need to involve a Building Control Service

Commercial Applications

The Environment Agency are able to impose uncapped fines on anyone who causes any spill, it is not necessarily the responsibility of the site owner as it is the polluter who pays.
Please note, this information is provided as a guideline basis only, if in any doubt you should always consult you local authority

Other Requirements

It is important that the oil or fuel storage tank is inspected annually.
Section 5.1 (b) iii of the above regulations also states that all oil tanks should be labelled with information on how to respond to a leak.
Section 7 of the PPG26 pollution prevention guidelines states: “Spill kits containing materials such as oil or chemical absorbents and personal protective clothing should be on site”.


The Environment Agency are able to impose uncapped fines on anyone who causes any spill, it is not necessarily the responsibility of the site owner as it is the polluter who pays.
Please note, this information is provided as a guideline basis only, if in any doubt you should always consult you local authority

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