Knowledge Base Home
Browse All Topics

Oil Storage Legislation Header Image

Oil Storage Legislation – What You Need to Know

Separate legislation governs different parts of the UK regarding oil storage.

In Scotland, The Water Environment (Oil Storage) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 cover all types of oil (including waste oil) and apply to all new and existing above ground oil storage facilities (storage in drums, IBCs, mobile bowsers, and portable containers of less than 200 litres) including those within buildings and domestic storage tanks of more than 2,500 litres.  Failure to comply with the regulations can result in a fine of up to £40,000.  Their key requirements are:

  • Containers of less than 200 litres capacity must be strong enough so as not to burst or leak in ordinary use.
  • The oil container should be positioned to avoid damage or protected by physical means.
  • For containers of more than 200 litres a secondary containment system (such as a bund or drip tray) must be in place to catch any oil leaking from the container or from its ancillary pipe work and equipment.
  • The secondary containment system must be of sufficient capacity to contain at least 110% of the maximum contents of the container.
  • Where more than one container is stored the secondary containment system must be capable of storing 110% of the largest container or 25% of the total storage capacity (whichever is the greater).
  • The wall and base of the secondary system must be impermeable to water and oil and be regularly checked for leaks.
  • All ancillary equipment must be kept within the bund/secondary containment system when not in use.
  • Above-ground pipe work must be adequately supported and below-ground pipe work must be physically protected and have leakage detection. If mechanical joints are used these must be accessible for inspection.

The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 apply to England and Wales and are much the same as the regulations for Scotland in terms of secondary containment systems.  There are, however, some differences in their application:

  • In Scotland oil stored for agricultural use is covered by the 2006 regulations, while in England and Wales agricultural fuel oil is covered by separate legislation (The Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) Regulations 2010).
  • They do not apply to oil stored within buildings.
  • They do not apply to the storage of waste oil (this is covered by the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010)
  • The regulations only apply to domestic premises where there is storage of more than 3,500 litres of oil.
  • There is no similar regulation to that in Scotland covering containers of less than 200 litres.
  • The fine for non-compliance can be up to £5000.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 place a duty on employers to have relevant equipment and procedures in place to mitigate the effects of an incident relating to a hazardous substance (this will include oil and other chemicals such as acids or alkalis).  An appropriate spill kit should be readily available and staff trained in its use to mitigate the effects of an accidental leakage or spill and return the situation to normal.  Any significant spillage should be reported to the relevant agency (SEPA, EA etc…).