Dispensing Premises Certification Scheme
If you operate a workplace in Middlesbrough where petrol is stored and dispensed into vehicles then the storage facility must have a Petroleum Storage Certificate [PSC].
PSCs are issued to the premises, not the operator, and they are issued without an expiry date. An annual fee is payable which is calculated on the maximum quantity of petrol that can be stored at the premises. The certificate remains in force until a material alteration is made to the dispensing premises or if it ceases to operate for more than 12 months.
Operators of a dispensing premises (also referred to as a Petrol Filling Station) must notify a Petroleum Officer before carrying out any modification to the fuel dispensing pipework, the vapour recovery pipework or to the fuel storage tanks.
Most types of alteration work at a dispensing premise will invalidate the PSC so it is prudent to agree and coordinate any alterations with the Petroleum Officer at least 28 days in advance. This will ensure that a new PSC can be issued to you in a timely manner to enable you to continue storing and dispensing petrol without any interruption to your business.
You must also contact a Petroleum Officer if any of the following circumstances applies:
- if you are thinking of storing and dispensing petrol for the first time
- if you are intending to re-open a closed petrol filling station
- if you are planning to cease operating or to transfer your business to someone else
New Builds & Refurbishment of Dispensing Premises
New sites, closed sites being reinstated and sites being altered or refurbished must comply with strict requirements for the design and construction of dispensing premises in order to be granted a PSC by the Petroleum Enforcement Authority [PEA].
In general, all construction works will be inspected by the Petroleum Officer at various points in the construction process prior to granting a PSC. Whilst a general fee is charged for the storage of fuel for all dispensing premises, no fees are charged for any associated inspection or approval of alteration or development works.
By law, the PEA must not issue a PSC unless it is satisfied that the design and construction of the petrol storage and dispensing facility does not create an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of any person.
Further information about the PEAs process to evaluate compliance is shown below.
The 2014 Regulations also require the PEA to be notified if more than 30 litres of petrol is to be kept at domestic or non-workplace locations. In these situations, the PEA may implement a statutory licensing scheme and impose certain storage conditions on the keeper.
Decommissioning of Dispensing Premises
If you stop using tanks for storing petrol then it is essential that they are made safe. Where this is only a temporary arrangement, there are certain permitted methods by which you can mothball a storage tank for up to a maximum of 12 months. However, you will still need to regularly inspect the tanks for integrity during this period.
After this 12-month period has elapsed the tanks will need to be made permanently safe. Again, there are various permitted methods of doing this and the best option for you will depend on what the land is likely to be used for in the future.
Both temporary and permanent decommissioning must be undertaken by a competent person and in coordination with the PEA. In general, all decommissioning work needs to be witnessed by the Petroleum Officer. Failure to involve the Petroleum Officer in these works could have implications regarding the future sale and development of the land.
Prior to the transfer of ownership of commercial land, it is likely that a potential buyer will require a report from the Petroleum Officer detailing the history of the site. If the Petroleum Officer is unable to confirm that decommissioning has satisfactorily taken place then further investigations into potential land contamination might be required in addition to the due diligence checks that take place as a matter of routine.
Failure to keep a former petrol storage tank in a safe condition could lead to a range of potentially dangerous situations occurring.
The PEA keeps records for all sites that have been issued with a Petroleum Storage Certificate. In addition, the PEA maintains an archive of historic information for numerous former petrol filling stations.
You can request a petroleum archive report for a current or former petrol filling station in Middlesbrough by contacting a Petroleum Officer and asking for a quotation. You must provide evidence that you are either the landowner or that you have the landowner’s authority to receive such information.
In most circumstances the PEA will not charge a fee to search the archive to establish whether or not pertinent information about a former petrol filling station exists.
When determining whether or not to issue a Petroleum Storage Certificate the PEA will follow guidance published by the Association for Petroleum and Explosives Administration [APEA], the Health & Safety Executive and other relevant bodies to satisfy itself that the design and construction of a dispensing premises does not create an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of any person.
The principal source of guidance used by the PEA will be the APEA publication, “Guidance for Design, Construction, Modification, Maintenance and Decommissioning of Filling Stations” (also known as the ‘Blue Book’). The Blue Book has been produced in partnership with regulators and industry stakeholders and is available on the APEA website.
You should ensure that any contractor appointed to carry out alterations to your premises fully adheres to Blue Book guidance and notifies the Petroleum Officer at least 28 days before commencing the work.
There are no fees associated with inspections conducted for the purpose of issuing a PSC or decommissioning a fuel storage tank.
There are fees payable for premises that store and dispense petrol, these are prescribed by the Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2021, based on the maximum quantity of petrol that can be stored at the dispensing premises. The fee bands are:
- Up to 2,500 litres - £45 per annum
- Between 2,500 litres and 50,000 litres - £61 per annum
- Exceeding 50,000 litres - £128 per annum
To reduce the administrative burden for both the operator and the PEA the keeper can elect to pay for a period of up to 10 years in advance. Fees are not refundable should the keeper subsequently leave the dispensing premises during this period or if the business ceases to trade. However, in most circumstances, the PSC would continue to remain in place for the new keeper.
Will Tacit Consent Apply?
No, you should not make an assumption of tacit consent for any alteration works to a dispensing premises.
In almost all circumstances a Petroleum Officer from the PEA will need to carry out a site visit (or a number of site visits) in order to determine whether or not to issue a Petroleum Storage Certificate to a dispensing premises.
It is not in the public interest to issue a certificate unless the design specification is agreed to be appropriate. It will also be necessary to inspect certain aspects of the construction work, such as the installation of underground storage tanks, pipework and drainage, to ensure it is satisfactory prior to infill and concealment.
The 2014 Regulations require a notification of works to be made no less than 28 days in advance. However, in some circumstances, the PEA will accept notifications at shorter notice where time is of the essence, for example, responsive maintenance to preserve the containment system should a risk to the integrity of the system arise.
If a notification to the PEA has not been acknowledged within 3 working days you should contact the Petroleum Officer by telephone, contact details are shown below.
How to Contact a Petroleum Officer
Middlesbrough Council has delegated petroleum storage enforcement to Tees Valley Joint Services in a joint partnership arrangement to share costs and enforcement expertise with neighbouring local authorities.
You can contact a Petroleum Officer as follows:
Telephone: 01642 223535
Address: Petroleum Officer
Tees Valley Joint Services
The PEA aims to acknowledge any application for a Petroleum Storage Certificate and/or notification of a material alteration by email within 3 working days. If you do not receive an acknowledgement of your application within this time then you should contact the Petroleum Officer by telephone.
Where relevant, the PEA will provide you with a tailored application form for a fee renewal or PSC request.
Please use the above email address for any statutory notifications or queries relating to the storage and dispensing of petrol in Middlesbrough.
If you are looking to inform the local authority of any notifiable weights and measures activity at your dispensing premises within the Middlesbrough area then the appropriate email address would be: email@example.com
Please contact the PEA in the first instance using the contact details shown.