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Preventing water pollution from oil stores

Guidance note for the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001

In 1999, oil accounted for 5,381 water pollution incidents in England, around 17% of all water incidents. Incidents were mainly due to leaks from unbunded tanks caused by inadequate storage facilities and equipment, vandalism and poor management or human error. Regulations made in 2001 introduced new controls on water pollution from oil stores in England.

Purpose of this guidance note

The purpose of this guidance note is to provide background information and interpretation of the minimum legal standards in the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 in more detail, and outline recommended 'best practice' measures that go beyond the requirements in the legislation. It is not a substitute for the Statutory Instrument and is not intended to have legal force.

Who should read this guidance?

Anyone who has custody or control of oil storage facilities (including tanks, intermediate bulk containers, oil drums and mobile bowsers), with certain exceptions listed in paragraph 8 of the guidance note. Those affected are mainly those storing oil above ground, with a 200 litre lower limit to storage capacity, on industrial, commercial and institutional (residential and non-residential) premises.

When did the Regulations come into force?

The Regulations came into force in 2001 in three stages. These are explained in more detail at paragraph 10 of the guidance note:

New oil stores were required to comply with the Regulations by 1 March 2002;
Existing oil stores 'at significant risk' by 1 September 2003;
All remaining existing oil stores by 1 September 2005.


David Broyd
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Water Quality 2
Room 303
55 Whitehall
London SW1A 2EY

Tel: 020 7082 8298
Fax: 020 7082 8305

Environment Agency General Enquiry Line: 0845 9 333 111

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Page last modified 14 March 2007
Page published: 6 November 2001