Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Who do oil storage control apply to?

Who do oil storage control apply to?

If you store any kind of oil at your commercial or domestic premises you may need to comply with a number of regulations controlling its storage. This will depend on how much and what type of oil you store, the type of site you have and the containers you use.

Comply with the Regulations on Oil Storage

The Regulations on Oil Storage aim to ensure that you store oil safely and minimise the risk of pollution. They affect:

  • industrial and commercial businesses and institutional sites who store oil above ground in containers holding over 200 litres in Northern Ireland and in containers holding any volume in Scotland.
  • private dwellings with containers storing more than 3,500 litres in Northern Ireland and more than 2,500 litres in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland businesses who refine or distribute oil will also need to comply unless they store more than 2,500 tonnes of oil and are regulated under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations.

In Scotland premises used for the onward distribution of oil are now covered by the requirements of the regulations.

These regulations apply to oil stored in containers both inside and outside of a building including:

  • tanks
  • intermediate bulk containers
  • oil drums
  • mobile bowsers.

The regulations also apply to portable containers in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland the Oil Storage Regulations do not apply if:

  • your container has a capacity of 200 litres or less
  • the oil is stored in a container wholly underground
  • the oil is stored on a farm and used for agricultural purposes
  • the oil is stored at a private dwelling in a container with a capacity of 3,500 litres or less.

From the 31 December 2015 the regulations now apply to all other remaining oil containers.

In Scotland the Regulations on Oil Storage do not apply if:

  • the oil is stored in a container wholly underground unless the container is in an underground part of a building, eg in a basement
  • oil is stored according to the requirements of a pollution prevention and control Part A permit
  • the oil is stored at a private dwelling in a container with a capacity of 2,500 litres or less
  • the oil is uncut bitumen (as this will solidify at normal ambient temperatures, close to any spillage)

Comply with agricultural fuel oil regulations

In Northern Ireland, if you store oil for agricultural use on a farm, for example to produce heat or power, you must comply with separate regulations that govern how you must store it.

In Scotland you must comply with the Regulations for Oil Storage.

Storing and using oil for Agriculture

Meet building regulations

If you store oil at a private dwelling (domestic oil storage), for example for your heating, you will need to comply with building regulations for any new or replacement domestic tanks.

Northern Ireland: How to comply with building regulation controls

Scotland: How to comply with building regulation controls

Register waste management licensing exemptions for storing waste oils

You must register an exemption from waste management licensing for certain activities. If you have an exemption you must comply with the exemption conditions in Northern Ireland or the objectives in Scotland.

If you store waste oils at a different site from where it was produced you will need to register a paragraph 18 exemption in Scotland or a Paragraph 12 exemption in Northern Ireland. You can store up to 3 cubic metres of waste oils at any one time in secure containers on hard standing.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency: Waste management licensing exemptions

NIEA: Paragraph 12 exemption

Comply with Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations

In Scotland, if you store large quantities of petrol or diesel, check whether the COMAH Regulations affect you.

In Northern Ireland, if you store more than 2,500 tonnes of petroleum products you will need to comply with the COMAH Regulations.

You may need a major accident prevention policy, have to submit a safety report and prepare an on-site emergency plan. You may need a major accident prevention policy, have to submit a safety report and prepare an on-site emergency plan.

COMAH

Store oil safely

Even if oil storage controls don’t apply to you, you should still store your oil responsibly and consider meeting the requirements of the legislation to help prevent pollution.

If you allow oil to escape into the water environment - for example, if oil leaks or is spilled from any oil storage, including a tank, bund or pipework on your site - you are committing an offence and may be prosecuted or fined.

Preventing water pollution

The Oil Care Campaign promotes the responsible delivery, storage, use and disposal of oil and oil-related products. it allows you to search for your nearest oil disposal point.

The Oil Care Campaign

Further information

NIEA helpline 0845 302 0008

SEPA helpline 01786 457 700

NIEA and SEPA Water Pollution Hotline 0800 80 70 60

Contact your environmental regulator

DAERA: Oil storage guidance for Northern Ireland

SEPA: Oil storage guidance for Scotland

HSE: COMAH information

Return to Oil Storage home page

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