If you are an operator of or an employee at a petrol filling station

The Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 do not change the health and safety responsibilities for petrol filling station operators or those who work at them. The following information explains the legislation.

What has changed in the legislation?

From 1 October 2014 the petrol licensing regime is replaced with a petrol certification scheme. If you are the owner of dispensing premises where petrol is kept you need to hold a Petroleum Storage Certificate (known as a 'storage certificate') to comply with the regulations.

Are there transitional or temporary arrangements?

Yes. All licences that are in place on 1 October 2014 on existing sites are still valid and remain valid until they reach their expiry date. 

If you have an existing site a 'transitional arrangement' is in place to phase in the need for a storage certificate; this arrangement applies to the vast majority of petrol filling stations where no immediate action is needed.

However, if a significant change takes place (referred to in the regulations as a 'prescribed material change') before the date your licence expires, your licence will no longer be valid. You must contact your local Petroleum Enforcement Authority (PEA) as a storage certificate will then be required. (Further information on how to obtain a storage certificate is available: How do I get a storage certificate?)

What happens when my petrol licence expires?

When your licence reaches its expiry date and as long as the petrol storage arrangements at your site have not changed, you will be automatically issued with a storage certificate relating specifically to your site. In most cases your local Petroleum Enforcement Authority will contact you ahead of the expiry date for your confirmation of the current storage arrangements at your site. An example of a PEA letter is available.

The storage certificate remains valid to the site as long as the storage conditions remain the same if there is change of ownership; operation or management (it is not personal to you).

What is a storage certificate?

A valid storage certificate is granted to show that you comply with the law on keeping petrol on dispensing premises and is based on the information and drawings you have already had approved. Please see example of a storage certificate.

How do I get a storage certificate?

The storage certificate for your dispensing premises is issued by your local Petroleum Enforcement Authority, known as the PEA (formerly the Petroleum Licensing Authority or PLA).

You do not need to apply for a storage certificate unless you become the owner of a new site or a site that has been out of operation for over twelve months. In these circumstances you should contact your local PEA at least 28 days before it is required and you can do this up to six months in advance.

The regulations state that 'The Petroleum Enforcement Authority must be satisfied that the containment system for petrol at dispensing premises may reasonably be used to store petrol without creating an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of any person' before granting a storage certificate.

How do I know if my workplace petrol dispensing activities require a petroleum storage certificate?

You will need a petroleum storage certificate for your workplace when you have petrol dispensing equipment similar to a retail petrol filling station.  This means you will need a storage certificate if you have:

  • a static tank (either an underground or fixed above ground petrol storage tank);
  • a containment system as part of your petrol dispensing equipment; and
  • a pump where you dispense petrol directly into the tank of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine.

You will not require a petroleum storage certificate for your workplace when:

  • you store petrol in a static tank and dispense it only into containers;
  • you store petrol in a mobile or movable storage container, whether you dispense into the tank of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine, or into containers;

If you are unsure whether you need a petroleum storage certificate you should discuss this with your local Petroleum Enforcing Authority (PEA).  You will find a list of PEAs on the Association of Petroleum and Explosives Administration (APEA) website.

Information on storing petrol at your home, club or association is also available.

Can conditions be applied to the storage certificate?

No, unlike a licence, conditions cannot be added and a storage certificate cannot be revoked (cancelled).

Once a storage certificate has been granted, if it is necessary for the PEA to take enforcement action at a retail or non-retail petrol filling station this is taken through the relevant health and safety legislation, for example the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR)

What is the fee for a storage certificate?

The annual fee for a storage certificate remains the same as that currently in place for a licence and is payable to the Petroleum Enforcement Authority. The fees are set by The Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2022 which are subject to an annual review so fees may change in the future.  

Fees can be paid for up to 10 years in advance and operators can choose the period for which they wish to pay.

What is included on my storage certificate?

The following information on your dispensing premises is required:

  • the name of the PEA granting the certificate
  • the address of your premises
  • a drawing of the layout of the dispensing premises
  • a drawing of the containment system for petrol including storage tanks and pipe work
  • a drawing of the petrol drainage system

When do I need to provide site drawings to the Petroleum Enforcement Authority?

To meet the requirements of the regulations you must supply the following drawings for your dispensing premises when you apply to the PEA for a storage certificate:

  • a drawing of the layout of the dispensing premises, and
  • a drawing of the containment system, including storage tanks and pipe work, and
  • a drawing of the drainage system for petrol

These drawings are essential and their reference number(s) must be included on the storage certificate. The drawings should also be readily available so it may be practical to store them with the storage certificate.

When a significant change (a prescribed material change) is made at your premises you will require a new storage certificate containing the up to date drawing reference numbers.

If I hold a licence do I need to provide drawings for a storage certificate?

No. Where premises already hold a licence, when the expiry date of the licence is reached your licence will automatically be converted by the local PEA to a storage certificate without having to meet the storage certificate application requirements. However where drawings exist they need to be referenced on the storage certificate.

If a 'prescribed material change' is made at a premise it is necessary to provide the PEA with up to date drawings and these must be referenced on the storage certificate reflecting the change to the current approved arrangements.

What is the format for drawings?

The regulations do not specify a format but it is recommended that drawings submitted to your PEA should be as a paper copy format with a scale of 1:100.  You can check with your local PEA if an electronic version of your drawings is acceptable.

What is meant by a 'prescribed material change'?

The regulations include a list of what is meant by a 'prescribed material change' to dispensing premises and this is limited to:

  • ceasing use of one or more of the petrol storage tanks
  • removing or permanently decommissioning one or more of the petrol storage tanks
  • installing any tank, pipework or vapour pipework associated with the storage and dispensing of petrol
  • installing any petrol pump, any other automotive pump, or dispenser in a new location

These are the only type of change that must be notified to the PEA. The regulations state that this is done at least 28 days before work commences to make the changes.

Do I need to notify the PEA if I replace a tank or pipework associated with the storage and dispensing of petrol?

No – replacing a tank or pipework is not a prescribed material change and therefore does not need to be notified to the PEA. 

Do I transfer the storage certificate to a new site operator?

No – the storage certificate relates specifically to the petrol storage arrangements at the dispensing premises and not to the person operating the site. The regulations place a duty on:

  • both the outgoing and incoming operator to notify the local PEA when a change of operator takes place at the premises
  • the outgoing operator to notify the PEA of the date they will be ceasing to occupy the premises

The PEA must be notified in writing (email is acceptable) at least 28 days (and you can do this up to 6 months) before the change of operator happens, the notification should include the following:

  • your name and address
  • the address of the dispensing premises
  • the actual date on which the change of operator is taking place

When does a storage certificate become invalid?

When a 'prescribed material change' (described above) is made at the premises a new storage certificate will be needed.

The storage certificate also becomes invalid where petrol is not kept at the premises for a continuous period in excess of 12 months. In practice this means where petrol is not being kept for the purposes of dispensing and therefore the site is not operating as dispensing premises.  In these circumstances the site  should be made temporarily safe or control measures identified and implemented to maintain the site in a safe condition.

Are under age sales prohibited?

Yes, the regulations stipulate that:

  • no one under the age of 16 can operate a dispenser on a dispensing premises
  • you cannot supply or allow the supply of petrol to a person under the age of 16

What containers can be filled at a petrol station?

Only 'suitable portable containers' can be filled with petrol ie:

  • plastic containers up to 10 litres
  • metal containers up to 20 litres
  • a demountable fuel tank

Suitable portable containers are defined in Schedule 2 (para 6) and Schedule 3 of the regulations. UN approved containers are an example of such containers.

More detailed information on portable petrol storage containers is available.

How many containers can be filled at a petrol station?

The regulations do not specify the number of suitable portable containers that can be filled at a petrol filling station. This should be considered as  part of the risk assessment for the site. Section 8 of the guidance document on 'Petrol filling stations guidance on managing the risks of fire and explosion  (the Red Guide)' provides further information.

What if you are refused a storage certificate?

If you are refused a storage certificate or have a complaint, you should follow this up in the first instance with the appropriate PEA using their procedures.

You can appeal against the decision to refuse a storage certificate to the Secretary of State under the Health and Safety Licensing Appeals (Hearings Procedure) Rules 1974 or in Scotland under The Health and Safety Licensing Appeals (Hearings Procedure) (Scotland) Rules 1974.

Where can I get further information from?

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Updated 2024-03-26