Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Oil storage

Oil spills account for one quarter of all pollution incidents in the UK. Leaks from oil containers are often caused by inadequate storage facilities and equipment, and poor maintenance and operation.

Oil includes petrol, diesel, central-heating oil, mineral and synthetic oils, vegetable and plant oils, heavy oils such as liquid bitumen, oil-based solvents such as kerosene, and waste oil.

If oil from your site enters the ground, surface water or groundwater you could be prosecuted for causing pollution and have to pay a fine. You could also have to pay substantial clean up costs.

This guide covers the legal requirements and sets out good practice for businesses that store oil. It explains how to store oil to reduce the risk of pollution, gives information on maintaining your oil containers and explains what to do if an oil spill occurs.

NIEA Helpline 0845 302 0008

SEPA Helpline 01786 457 700

NIEA and SEPA Pollution Hotline 0800 80 70 60


Additional resources



Requirements for your oil storage container

Read about how your oil storage needs to be constructed

Pipework and fittings

To comply with the Regulations on Oil Storage you must ensure all pipework, above and below ground, is correctly positioned and properly maintained.

Read about pipework and fittings for oil storage 

Prevent pollution: dealing with oil spills

Read about preventing pollution from spills

Oil storage environmental legislation

This page provides links to the full text of key pieces of environmental legislation relating to oil storage.

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