What you need to know
PETROLEUM (CONSOLIDATION) ACT 1928 and PETROLEUM (TRANSFER OF LICENCES) ACT 1936
Requires business storing petroleum spirit to hold a licence and to comply with stringent safety rules.
It is the statutory responsibility for Local or Fire Authorities to satisfy themselves that the storage of petrol is maintained in a safe manner and that such storage is licensed if more than 3 gallons is kept.
In the Lancashire County Area (other Authorities may be different), the LCC Trading Standards division currently undertakes these responsibilities.
Licensees can expect to receive an inspection at periodic intervals by the Council’s Petroleum Officer in order that the conditions of the licence are being maintained.
Failure not to apply for a licence is an offence and this may lead to prosecution.
When Do I require a Petroleum Licence?
You will require a Petroleum Licence if you keep more than 14 litres (3 gallons) of petroleum spirit, other than for you your own vehicle where you can keep 2 x 9 litre (2 x 2 gallons) in metal containers.
Under no circumstances should you store more than 14 litres (3 gallons) of petroleum spirit without a licence as to do so makes it an offence under Section 1 of the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928
Will I be inspected and if so when?
As soon as possible if it is your first application, normally within 5 working days
And thereafter every one or two years after that depending on the site’s particular circumstances
What happens if I do not pass an inspection?
Depending again on the circumstances, you will receive a letter explaining where you do not comply and the steps to be taken to achieve full compliance. In extreme or dangerous conditions, any activity may be stopped by the issue of a legal Prohibition or Improvement Notices.
Can I appeal and to whom?
You can appeal to a Magistrate’s Court against any LEGAL notices served on you or your business. Legal Notices are however, very rare indeed.
Where can I get advice on Petroleum Licensing, Storage and Dispensing?
You can get advice from Lancashire County Council's Petroleum Officer in the Trading Standards Department.
What is the Guidance that is applied to new and existing Petrol Filling Stations?
In the case of new, major refurbished or those that are to undertake any works on a Petrol Filling Station, the APEA/IP Document known as ‘Guidance on the Design, Construction, Modification and Maintenance of Petrol Filling Stations’ (November 1999) is the nationally approved code of practice that is to be followed.
Where can I get a copy?
The document can be obtained from;
Portland Press Ltd
Telephone: 01206 796 351
Fax: 01206 796 331
Also known in the industry as the ‘Blue Book’ the document costs £90.00 unless you are a member of the Association for Petroleum Explosives Administration (APEA) or the Institute of Petroleum (IP) where you can purchase it for £30.00. You can visit these web sites as follows;
What does the Guidance cover?
The following sections are contained in the Guidance;
Risk Assessment Vapour Emission Control Systems
Hazardous Area Classification Leak Detection
Planning and Design Canopies and Buildings
Acceptance and Commissioning Drainage Systems
Construction Safety Electrical Installations
Tankage Maintenance and In-Service Testing
Pipework Systems Repairs and Modifications
Decommissioning Glossary of Terms
Is there any other Technical Guidance I should be aware of?
Yes there is. It is for Operational Issues and the document is known as HS(G) 41 'Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Petrol Filling Stations' (1990) published by the Health & Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk )
This document is currently out of print and will probably be replaced with a new Approved Code of Practice. If you are unsuccessful, contact your local Petroleum Officer for guidance or your Supplier.
There are several places where guidance can also be sought;
Environment Agency www.environment-agency.gov.uk
Petrol Retailers Association
Tel: 01788 576465
United Kingdom Petrol Industries Association
Tel: 020 7379 0289
Temporary And Permanent Decommissioning Of Petrol
Reference: Guidance for the Design, Construction, Modification and Maintenance of Petrol Filling Stations APEA/IP Published November 1999
Pages 233-235 Section 17
A Brief Summary Why Temporary?
Consideration to future development or reinstatement and whether adequate safety control can be maintained for the facility.
Making Tanks Safe
Filling with Water
All pipe work except the vent pipe work should be drained and then disconnected in
the manhole chambers of each tank. The vent remains connected.
Residual Petrol should be removed from the tank or compartments.
Each tank should be filled with water to a level just below the man lid.
All disconnected pipe work should be sealed in the man way chamber.
The Vent pipe work should be disconnected just above ground level.
Filling should continue until clear water appears at the disconnected vent pipe.
Note; The liquid that first appears may contain significant amounts of product. Release of this material could cause a safety hazard and it should be collected safely for disposal
Once the tank is full the vent pipe work, together with the flame trap outlet should be reconnected to allow the tank to breathe'
The filling/dipping pipe should be securely locked.
Offset fill pipes should be adequately secured against unauthorised access, vandalism or inadvertent use.
The water content of the tank(s) should be inspected at intervals of not less than once every 3 months and any reduction in level should be investigated, notified to the Enforcing Authority and appropriate collective action taken.
Partially Filling with Water or Diesel
Where a tank(s) are taken out of service pending a decision on its future, it may be rendered temporarily safe, provided adequate controls can be maintained over the site by taking the following precautions;
Remove residual petrol, bottom tank and ensure that the fill pipe is intact.
Introduce sufficient water or diesel into the tank to maintain a liquid seal between the termination of the internal fill pipe and the tank vapour space.
Note; Where diesel is being used it will be necessary to ensure electrical continuity between the tank and the tanker and that the flow rate is restricted to less than 1 m/s.
Fix suitable warning notice at the manhole.
Introduce a regular inspection regime to ensure that the facility is not interfered with and that the liquid seal is maintained at the fill pipe
Filling with Hydroscopic Foam
All pipe work except the vent pipe work should be drained and then disconnected in the manhole chamber of the tank. The tank should be bottomed as detailed above. In addition it may be necessary to treat the bottom of the tank with a proprietary emulsifier to ensure, as far as possible that all residual petrol is removed.
The tank should be filled with hydroscopic foam generated on site and pumped directly into the tank. The foam should have a designed compressive strength of 15 tonnes/m2.
Tanks filled with hydroscopic foam can be reinstated by mechanical removal of the foam or by using a solvent and vacuum extraction method.
Tanks Left unused but with Product remaining
This is only acceptable if there is a surplus capacity. A Liquid seal must be maintained. Maintenance schedules should also be retained.
May be made temporarily safe by being left in situ. The following precautions should be taken.
The dispensers should be electrically isolated, all suction lines drained back and
flexible connectors disconnected.
The dispenser suction entries should be plugged off and the suction and any vapour lines capped off in the under pump cavity.
The dispenser should be protected from vandalism by sturdy wooden encasement or other suitable material
This method is only suitable for short periods of time (6 months maximum)
Dispensers removed from Site
The following measures should be undertaken;
Isolate electrically, drain all suction lines and disconnect flexible connectors.
Dispensers should be drained of residual petrol and purged with nitrogen. The suction entries should be placed in storage or despatched for scrap.
Cap off the suction line and any vapour lines in the under pump cavity.
In fill the under pump cavity with a suitable backfill material
Interceptor Chambers should be emptied of all liquid and sludge contents by a Hazardous Waste Disposal Contractor. The chambers should then be replenished with clean water.
This should disconnected by an electrical supplier who will apply the appropriate degree of disconnection (up to removal of the main intake box)
Depends on whether it was out of action for a short period (12-18 months) for cleaning or pending modifications or site development. A longer period may be agreed with the Petroleum Licensing Authority. In either case the procedure for reinstatement should be discussed with the Enforcement Authority before any work is commenced.
Reinstatement following Short Term
A full visual inspection should be carried out and any defects or omissions rectified or replaced as the case may be.
Normally, the only testing necessary will be to prove the integrity of the tank lid gasket and pipe work reconnections. A Risk Assessment carried out will determine whether testing proves necessary.
Reinstatement following Long Term (18 month plus)
The site should be risk assessed to establish whether there are adequate safeguards are in place to control the risks of fire, explosion and environmental pollution from the storage and handling of petrol.
The Filling Station electrical installation should be subjected to a full examination and test, with a compliance certificate issued before operating again.
Extracted from the APE/IP Joint Publication 'The Blue Guide'
Undertaking Work On Petrol Filling Stations
What do I need to do before starting work on a Petrol Filling Station?
Before any work is commenced on any part of the petrol installation, you must obtain approval from the Petroleum Licensing Authority.
Work means any work that involves storage tanks, pipe work, drainage systems, dispensers (pumps), Sales Buildings (where pumps are authorised) LPG Installations, any Tank and Line Testing and any measuring equipment or devices.
Under the Licensing Conditions, you should give at least 28 days notice in writing but depending on the extent of work this may be relaxed if it is of a minor nature.
Are there any special qualifications to carry out work?
The UKPIA scheme for Safety Passports that demonstrates that every contractor has attended a Health & Safety Course and that it is refreshed every 3 year.
What if I do not have a Passport?
It will be unlikely that you will be permitted to start work on any Filling Station.
Do I need to have any documents whilst work is being undertaken?
If the site has closed down you will need a Visitors Signing In Book and display Health & Safety at Work Posters. You will need to have site risk assessments and a Safety Method Statement, both of which should have been approved in writing before starting work. All Staff involved should have the appropriate safety protective clothing including High Visibility Vests, Safety Footwear and Hard Hats, if deemed a ‘Hard Hat’ area. Specific areas of work should be fenced or coned off with any warning signs prominently displayed.
Portable Fire Fighting Equipment should be supplied and there should be Emergency Procedures laid down before work starts with access to a telephone within one minute’s travel by foot.
I wish to do Confined space Access to part of the underground Installation?
Before any entry, you should undertake a pre-entry assessment and keep a record of it.
Staff should have a means on them to demonstrate they have received the appropriate training in confined space access and have a working knowledge of a ‘Man Down Procedure’ A ‘Surface Man’ should always be present whilst contractors are inside a confined space with entry restricted to 30 minutes maximum, with each committed member in a Harness. A First Aid Kit should always be available.
I wish to use Hot Work methods for cutting/welding
Before doing this, you must obtain the approval of the Petroleum Licensing Authority in writing by submitting a supporting case study showing there are no alternatives. Risk Assessments and Safety Method Statements are also to be submitted.
Will the Site be inspected whilst work is being undertaken?
Certainly if the work involves more than one day and depending on the nature of work, the inspection will be carried out by the Petroleum Officer.
Dealing With Leaks and Spills
Leaks and Spillages
It is inevitable that at some stage, a fuel leak or spillage will take place on a Petroleum Licensed premises, the risk increases as the installation ages or the throughput of the site rises. The wear and tear on equipment such as delivery hoses, nozzles and valves will in time fail.
It is essential that a sound routine Maintenance Programme is in place to preserve the lifespan of the various components of the installation starting with simple checks through to specialist engineers attending the site to conduct maintenance work.
Reporting Leaks and Spillages
It is a Condition of the Petroleum Licence to report any fire, explosion, leak or spillage but clearly some interpretation on this is necessary as the Petroleum Licensing could be contacted every time a few drops of fuel are spilt! Conversely, a leak or spillage of 100 litres represents a sizable amount of fuel and in the case of petrol, can have catastrophic consequences if ignited.
The amount in either case to report a leak or spill should be 20 litres or more unless the circumstances suggest that site conditions will worsen.
In this case, the Licensee should contact the Fire Safety & Petroleum Officer
When reporting leaks and spillages, the caller should clearly state any or all of the following;
Date and Time of the Incident
Location or Address of the Incident
A Brief Description of Events leading to the Incident
Any Accidents and Injuries to people or property
If the Incident was captured on CCTV (if installed)
What corrective action (if any) was taken at the time
Who else has been informed of the incident
If any of the Emergency Services were called (Police, Fire Ambulance)
On receipt of the information, you will be advised of the steps that will be taken, commencing with the reduction of any fire and explosion risk that may be posed.
Pollution Incident Response Plan
Although it is not a Condition of the Petroleum Licence, it is strongly recommended that all sites have their own ‘Pollution Response Plan’ that takes into account a major leak or spillage for up to the first hour of the incident occurring.
This will involve Company Contacts and Specialist Contractors being called and the plan should cover any time of day or night.