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Petroleum Site Licensing

Licensing of Petroleum Sites


Pembrokeshire County Council is the licensing authority for the storage of petroleum in County.

What is petroleum?

Petroleum means - any product of crude petroleum which has a flashpoint below 21C. This includes petrol, benzene, pentane and any mixture which contains these products and has a flashpoint below 21C. This doesn't include white spirit, paraffin, diesel oil or fuel oils.

Petrol is a highly flammable liquid and gives off flammable vapour even at very low temperatures. When this vapour is mixed with air in proportions between 1% and 8% a risk of fire or explosion exists.

Petrol vapour is heavier than air and does not disperse easily in still conditions. It tends to sink to the lowest possible level of its surroundings and may accumulate in tanks, cavities, drains, pits or other depressions.


You will require a petroleum licence if you store petrol in a tank or bowser for delivery into the fuel tank of a vehicle (including road vehicles, boats, or aircraft). Failure not to apply for a licence is an offence and this may lead to prosecution.

In order to reduce the administrative burden on licensees and petroleum licensing authorities, licensees now have the option of applying to renew the licence for a period of 1, 2 or 3 years.

The application for renewal should be made at least 21 days before the expiry date of the existing licence. This will enable the new application to be processed before the current licence expires.

Once a complete application is received, a new licence will be prepared together with the current licence conditions. The petroleum officer may also carry out a site visit at this time.

Application for a Petroleum Licence

Petroleum Licence Conditions

 Transfer of Licence

If the site is to be sold or transferred to another person or named body, a transfer of licence application form should be completed and send to Authority, providing 28 days notice of the transfer.

The application form should be accompanied with the prescribed fee, currently 8.00

On receipt of any application, a new licence will be prepared together with the current licence conditions and they will be forwarded to the new licensee.

Application for Transfer of Licence

Petroleum Licence Conditions

How to apply and pay?

Fill in and return the appropriate application form and return with a cheque for the correct sum and a copy of the current electrical certificate.

Cheques should be made payable to Pembrokeshire County Council and sent to, Public Protection Division, Development Directorate, Pembrokeshire County Council, County Hall, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA61 1TP.

What will it cost?

The fee for a 2 or a 3 year renewal period will be charged pro-rata of the annual fee set by the current Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations.

The fees for 2012/13 are :-

Capacity of Petroleum Spirit 1 Year 2 Years 3 Years
Not exceeding 2,500 litres 42 84 126
Exceeding 2,500 litres, but not exceeding 50,000 litres 58 116 174
Exceeding 50,000 litres 120 240 360
Transfer of licence 8

Petroleum Inspection

Licensees can expect to receive an inspection at periodic intervals by an officer from the Health and Safety Team of the Council's Public Protection Division, in order to ensure that the conditions of the licence are being maintained and that all other health and safety risks are being adequately controlled. Renewing the licence for a period of 2 or 3 years will not affect how often the site is inspected.

Inspectors will check the condition of the forecourt, ensuring in particular that there are no leaks and that fire precautions (including suitable equipment) are in place. The site records will be examined to check that the storage tanks are being regularly monitored and that health and safety procedures are being followed. The wetstock records and site register should therefore be kept up to date and be available for inspection on site.

Within the site register the inspector will also expect to see a DSEAR risk assessment and zone plan. For further information see petroleum risk assessment pack.

Petroleum risk assessment pack

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002

These Regulations known also as DSEAR, came into effect in the UK on 5 December 2002. All petrol filling stations have an obligation to comply with DSEAR.

DSEAR require employers and the self employed to;

* Carry out a risk assessment of any work activities involving dangerous substances
* Provide technical and organisational measures to eliminate or reduce as far as reasonably practicable the identified risks
* Provide equipment and procedures to deal with accidents and emergencies
* Classify places where explosive atmospheres may occur into zones and to mark those zones where necessary

Overall, DSEAR can be seen as complimentary to the general duty to manage risks under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, making explicit good practices for reducing the risk to persons from fires, explosions and energy-releasing events which in turn are caused by dangerous substances such as flammable solvents and fuels.

Decommissioning petroleum tanks and all other alterations to the petrol filling station

Before any work is commenced on any part of the petrol installation, approval must obtained approval from the Authority. Work means any work that involves storage tanks, pipe work, drainage systems, dispensers, sales buildings (where pumps are authorised), LPG Installations, any tank and line testing, decommissioning etc.

The scope and extent of these works must be made known together with the name of the project manager and contractors involved. On most occasions there will be the need for a site-specific risk assessment and a safety method statement that must be submitted along with any notification. It would also be helpful for a scaled drawing to be submitted that can show where the work is taking place in conjunction with the hazardous areas.

Finally it is important to establish whether the work will cause either a partial or total closure to take place and the additional safeguards necessary to protect contractors, staff and any members of the public where the work area must be segregated from any parts of the forecourt that remain open.

Under the licensing conditions, at least 28 days notice in writing shall be given in respect of this work, but depending on the extent of work this may be relaxed if it is of a minor nature.

The APEA/IP Document 'Guidance on the Design, Construction, Modification and Maintenance of Petrol Filling Stations' 2nd Edition (April 2005) is the nationally approved code of practice that is to be followed when carrying out any alterations. Also known in the industry as the 'Blue Book' the document costs 120.00 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 reduced price. Visit the web site for further information as follows http://www.apea.org.uk/.


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 Authority might otherwise be contactable 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 petroleum licensing officer.

Domestic storage

Petrol is a highly flammable, explosive and toxic substance. There are laws you must obey and rules you need to follow if you are storing it.

It is against the law to store more than 20 litres of petrol in two 10 litre metal containers, or 10 litres in two 5 litre plastic containers. All containers must be designed for the purpose and they must be marked petroleum and highly flammable.

Apart from what's in the fuel tank, you can only transport petrol in securely closed containers designed for the purpose and marked petroleum and highly flammable. Make sure they are secured in the boot when being transported.

Filling your tank from a container should only be carried out in the open air.
Store any containers in a garage or shed away from any other buildings. Don't keep it in the house. Make sure the area is well ventilated and away from any naked flame or live electrical equipment.

Check containers regularly for leaks. If you smell petrol fumes, ventilate the area and make sure nobody smokes or turns electrical switches on or off. The slightest spark could cause an explosion.

For further information contact:

Health and Safety Team,
Public Protection Division,
Pembrokeshire County Council,
County Hall,
SA61 1TP.

Tel: 01437 775179
E-mail: health&safety@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

ID: 19672   Revised: 14/5/2014

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