Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Prevent pollution: dealing with oil spills

Prevent pollution: dealing with oil spills

You should take prevention measures to reduce the risk of oil pollution occurring on your site. Have a pollution incident response plan to use in the event of a spill or leak, and ensure your staff are fully trained and know what to do when an incident occurs.

GPP 21: Pollution incident response planning

Keep a spill kit or other pollution control equipment close to your oil store so you can access it easily when you need it. This can include:

  • an oil spill kit with proprietary absorbent materials and drain blockers
  • gully seals
  • booms
  • sealing putty.

If a spill does occur, act immediately and try to prevent it from entering drains or surface waters. For example, use absorbent materials to help contain the spread of the oil and soak it up, and drain blockers to protect surface water drains.

Use the UK wide Pollution Hotline on Tel 0800 80 70 60 to report an incident and ask for help and advice about what to do.

You must never hose a spill down or use detergents to disperse it as you could cause a much worse pollution incident.

You must dispose of any absorbent or other materials contaminated with oil as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous/special waste


Take precautions during oil deliveries

There's an increased risk of an oil spill during a delivery to your container. To help prevent pollution you should:

  • supervise deliveries
  • clearly label all tanks with their contents and storage capacity
  • check that your container has sufficient capacity before arranging and receiving a delivery.

Take particular care where taking a delivery to multiple tanks. Have clear instructions for delivering the right amount to each tank.


Further information

UK wide Pollution Hotline on Tel 0800 80 70 60

Oil Care Campaign

GPP 21: Pollution incident response planning

In this Guideline

Where to locate your oil storage container

Requirements for your oil storage container

Secondary containment systems (Bunding)

Pipework and fittings for oil storage

Mobile bowsers for oil and fuel

Maintaining your oil storage containers

Prevent pollution: dealing with oil spills

Oil storage - Further information

Oil storage environmental legislation

Environmental News Blog

NetRegs on NetRegs on youTube

View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.

NetRegs Update Newsletter

Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland

Sign up for free today!


NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms