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Fuel Storage Regulations

Read our fuel storage regulations to ensure you're within the law.

Fuel Storage Regulations for Businesses and Homeowners

Fuel is highly hazardous and combustible, so it’s important that you store and handle it carefully to avoid damage to the surrounding environment.

There are different fuel storage regulations in place depending on how much you are storing and where you are storing fuel. It’s imperative that you follow the relevant legislation to ensure safe storage and avoid huge fines or prosecution.

Fuel storage for home

When storing fuel at home, you must follow England’s Building Regulations if you have a new or replacement tank installed for powering your central heating or stove.

Please note, Building Regulations differ in ScotlandWales or Northern Ireland.

Fuel storage containers must be designed to exclusively store fuel and must have a screw cap or closure to prevent leakage of liquid or vapour.

How much fuel can I store at home?

Storing less than 30 litres

If you own a home, motor vehicle, boat or aircraft, you can store up to 30 litres without informing anyone. However, the law requires different containers depending on the volume you’re storing:

  • Plastic container – up to 10 litres
  • Metal container – up to 20 litres
  • Demountable fuel tank – up to 30 litres

Storing more than 30 litres but less than 275 litres

In this instance, you must inform the local Petroleum Enforcement Authority (PEA) in writing and include your name, address and location.

Storing more than 275 litres but less than 3500

You need a petroleum storage certificate and a licence which can be attained from your local PEA. This will last up to 3 years but is non-transferable.

Please note:

  • Aim to store your fuel in open-air – if not possible, ensure there’s a direct exit to the open air and ventilation to the exit
  • Never store fuel inside your house – a shed or garage is best
  • Never dispose or manually pump fuel from a storage tank
  • Prevent any nearby heat and ignition sources
  • Never use fuel in any other place other than the fuel tank of the combustible engine

Storing more than 3500 litres

In this case, you must follow the regulations for businesses and apply for planning permission to install a fuel tank for this volume at home.

Fuel storage for business, marinas and public sector buildings

When storing more than 200 litres of fuel at your business premises, marine or public sector building such as hospitals, schools and leisure centres, you must follow the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001.

This legislation refers to:

There are some exemptions from this legislation:

  • Oil stored underground
  • Oil used for the onward distribution to another location
  • Waste mineral oil storage
  • At a single private dwelling storing less than 3,500 litres of fuel, however, you must refer to the Building Regulations for replacement/new tanks
  • Agricultural use of oil on farms for heat and power production. This is also covered by the Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil), 1991

Fuel storage on farms guidelines

When storing fuel on a farm in England or Wales for agricultural purposes, there are different regulations that you must follow: Storing Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil.

However, if when storing fuel on a farm for non-agricultural business purposes, such as to fuel lorries or trucks, you must follow the rules for businesses.

Fuel tank regulations and design standards

All storage tank installations must adhere to the Building Regulations and include:

  • Mobile bowsers
  • Fixed tanks and oil drums
  • IBCs
  • Some generators and transformers

All tanks must be installed by a professional and registered company who will determine whether your tank needs a bund (secondary containment) to protect from any spills and leaks.

  • Fixed tanks must meet British Standard 5410 and have secondary containment (bund). A drip tray is not adequate enough to contain any spills in this instance
  • Plastic tanks must comply with the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) standard OST T100
  • Metal tanks must meet OFTEC standard OFS T200 or British Standard 799-5

Tank storage locations

You must store your fuel tank:

  • With minimal risk of damage by impact, the elements or machinery
  • Away from flooding risk
  • At least 1m clear of inland or coastal waters
  • At least 50m clear of a spring
  • Away from roof height and above
  • On an impermeable surface if near to deliveries

If you’re struggling to find a suitable location to store your fuel, give us a call on 0330 678 0880 and we can advise on the best practices.

fuel storage regulations

Fuel tank fittings and connections

It’s important to use the correct fuel tank connections and fittings to avoid pollution fines and penalties.

Pipework

Commercial pipework installations are usually made from steel, providing added protection from damage. Please note, steel pipework must not be galvanised and must be painted to reduce corrosion.

Domestic pipework is usually made from plastic-coated soft copper tubing, allowing it to be easily manipulated.

You must ensure aboveground pipework is supported so it’s secure and unable to become loose. It must also be away from damage by impact and collision.

If your pipework is underground, it can be tricky to detect any leaks or damage, which increases the risk of pollution. Therefore, it’s best to install aboveground pipework where possible.

Delivery pipe

If your fixed fuel tank has a flexible pipe to dispense oil, it must have a drip tray and be located inside a secure cabinet that’s locked shut when out of use.

Alternatively, where the pipe leaves the tank, it must be stored inside the bund with a lockable valve. The tap or valve must be at the input end and automatically close when out of use. Unless it has an automatic cut off mechanism, it must not be able to be fixed open.

Pump

A pump is a potential source of ignition so there are various rules that surround its use.

It must:

  • Remain locked shut and in an enclosed casing when out of use or alternatively, the electricity supply must be cut off to prevent wasted use
  • Be stored outside of the bund on an impervious base and in open air
  • Be located away from damage by impact
  • Have a valve in its feed line to prevent the tank contents from emptying in the event of damage

Valves

A valve is essential to prevent the supply of oil in the event of a fire.

It must be:

  • Before the point of entry
  • Outside the building
  • In view from the filling point
  • Locked when out of use
  • Triggered by a remote sensor

Pipes

Pipes must have shut-off valves which are fire-safe when tested to BS EN IS 10497 as they are a potential source of leakage.

If your fuel tank has vent pipes, taps or valves that are permanently attached and risk oil escaping, they must be inside the bund and positioned so that any escaped oil will go directly inside the bund.

Overfill prevention

Fuel tanks must have an automatic overfill prevention device if the tank and vent pipe are out of sight, such as a:

  • Device to cut off the oil when it’s full
  • An alarm
  • Fixed tank probe to signal an alert

Screw fittings/fixed couplings

You have a legal duty to ensure that the screw fitting or fixed coupling does not erode and there is no debris inside.

Remote filling

A remote fill refers to if your tank is topped up at a fill point that’s outside of the bund or drip tray. When using a remote fill pipe, you must use a drip tray to catch and spills and prevent environmental damage.

Secondary containment

Secondary containment ensures that oil will not escape into the surrounding environment in the event of a spill or leak. All tanks and ancillary products must be located in an oil-tight, secondary containment such as a bund or drip tray.

Bund

A bund is an outer case that holds the tank, constructed from concrete or masonry. Bulk fuel tanks are required by law to be bunded, meeting DSEAR regulation 6(4)(e) requirements.

A bunded fuel tank offers complete peace of mind that your stored fuel is safe and secure.

It must meet ISO 9000 regulations:

  • Non-corrosive and resistant to oil and water
  • Ability to hold 110% of the capacity of the tank
  • Lifespan of 20 years with maintenance
  • Lifespan of 20 years without maintenance if underground
  • Resistant to oil and water with no drain-down pipe
  • Contained within the bund with taps and valves pointing down and locked when out of use
  • Permanently attach delivery pipes with self-closing taps or valves inside and locked when out of use

The 110% capacity is to cater for overfilling, loss of tank contents, sudden tank failure and rainwater ingress.

Please note: if you have more than one fuel tank, the secondary containment must be able to store 110% of the largest tank’s capacity or 25% of the total capacity.

Drip tray

A drip tray is needed to contain any spills. It must be attached and fitted under the tank.

If it can hold the same amount as the container, it should be able to hold ¼ of the drum its holding. However, this is only valid if you use the tray to hold a single drum.

So, a drip tray that can hold 4 separate 205-litre drums must have a capacity of 205-litres, even if you only use it to hold 1 single drum.

Tank gauging system

Sight gauge

A sight gauge is a traditional method to measure the contents of a bottom outlet oil tank.

It must be:

  • Supported so it can’t come loose
  • Positioned in the secondary containment
  • Fitted with a valve that automatically closes when out of use
  • Fitted with a bracket along the length of the gauge to fix the tube to the tank to avoid it being knocked over

Dipping

You can also gauge a tank using drip rods made from non-sparking alloys that are earthed. Please note: you must only use the rod in the tank it’s designed to ensure accurate readings.

However, dipping can cause a potential source of ignition that produce frictional heating, static electricity and sparking.

At Nationwide Fuels, we offer a tank telemetry system to avoid manually dipping tanks. Through sensors that are fitted to your tank, it tells you how much fuel each of your sites have left and how many days this volume will supply.

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