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New oil storage rules come in to effect


Which oils do the new regulations cover?
The regulations apply to any kind of oil, such as diesel, kerosene and waste oil. The storage of Agricultural Fuel Oil is also covered by the new regulations.


Is there a minimum storage size for the new rules?
Yes. The Regulations apply to any kind of container which has a capacity of greater than 200 litres which is being used to store oil above ground, whether inside or outside a building.


What type of containers do the new regulations apply to?
The rules include fixed tanks, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), drums (oil drums or similar containers used for storing oil) or mobile bowsers.


What types of places, buildings and properties do the rules apply to?
A vast range of premises is covered by new regulations such as:

  • Industrial businesses: small manufacturing premises such as food processing, textiles, paper and publishing, engineering, bricks and ceramics, metals, chemicals.
  • Commercial businesses: such as shops, offices, theatres, hotels, restaurants, pubs, building and construction sites, motor garages, transport depots, bus stations.
  • Institutions (residential and non-residential): in the public and private sector, charities and voluntary groups, these include schools, hospitals, churches, village halls, prisons, libraries, public sector buildings, nursing homes, and occupiers of multi-residential dwellings whether, privately or publicly owned, blocks of flats or other dwellings where oil is supplied from communal storage facilities.
  • Farms: includes storage of any oil used on a farm for agricultural and commercial use.
  • Domestic properties: The requirements of the Regulations apply to new or replacement tanks serving domestic properties installed after 15 March 2016.


The Regulations came into force in three stages

  • Tanks installed after 15th March 2016 had to comply with the regulations from when they are installed.
  • Existing tanks at significant risk (i.e. facilities that are located within 10 metres of any surface water or wetland, or 50 metres of a borehole or well), had to comply by 15th March 2018.
  • Existing tanks not at significant risk had to comply by 15 March 2020.



The main provisions introduced by the Regulations apply to containers of more than 200 litres and are outlined below:

  • All tanks, drums or other containers over 200 litres must be strong enough to hold the oil without leaking or bursting. A standard oil drum has a capacity of 205 litres and must comply with the Regulations.
  • If possible, the oil container must be either positioned to avoid damage (e.g. impact from any vehicular traffic) or suitably protected by physical means.
  • A secondary containment system (e.g. bund or drip tray) must be provided to catch any oil leaking from the container or its related pipework and equipment.
  • The secondary containment system for a tank, IBC or mobile bowser must be sufficient capacity to contain at least 110% of the maximum contents of 6 the oil container. Where more than one container is stored the bund must be capable of storing at least 110% of the largest tank (or of one tank if they are the same size), or at least 25% of the total storage capacity, whichever is the greater.
  • The secondary containment system for drums, (which may be a drip tray or bund), must be of sufficient capacity to contain at least 25% of total storage capacity.
  • Special attention should be paid where containers are hydraulically linked to ensure the containment system meets these requirements.
  • The bund base and walls must be impermeable to water and oil and checked regularly for leaks.
  • Any valve, filter, sight gauge, vent pipe or other ancillary equipment must be kept within the bund when not in use.
  • Above ground pipework must be properly supported (e.g. using brackets to attach the pipe to a wall).
  • Below ground pipework must be protected from physical damage (e.g. excessive surface loading, ground movement, disturbance or corrosion) and have adequate leakage detection. If mechanical joints have to be used, they must be readily accessible for inspection.
  • Below ground pipework must be tested at regular intervals. This must be at least every 5 years for pipes with mechanical joints and every 10 years for those without. NRW has the power to serve works notices to minimise pollution risks. Such a notice could require an existing container to comply with all or part of the Regulations during the transitional period or require a new container breaching the Regulations to comply.





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