Industry calls for oil tank ‘MoT’

The revelation that more than three-quarters of serious inland oil spills go undetected by the authorities has prompted calls for tighter regulations and regular checks on tanks.

The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has called for urgent action that would reduce oil spills, the single most common type of pollution incident in the UK.

While the EIC clearly has an interest in further regulation which would bring work to its member companies there is a sound argument for closer monitoring of the tanks.

In its report An Analysis of Inland Oil and Fuel Incidents in England and Wales the Oil Care Campaign, a consortium of key players from industry and watchdog organisations, finds that most spills are down to faulty or badly maintained tanks.

There is also a reluctance to report spills (see related story) allowing many to go undetected.

The implementation of regular check-ups would go some way towards tackling offenders attempts at concealing their spills.

Merlin Hyman, director of EIC, said: “Inland oil spills are the biggest cause of pollution incidents in the UK and cost many millions of pounds every year in damage to the environment – and this new report shows the real story is far worse than we thought.

“It is vital the Government acts to put in place a statutory ‘MoT’ system for oil storage tanks.

“It is disappointing that the Oil Care Campaign has seen fit to weaken this report by changing the recommendations to ‘discussion points’.

“Oil spills cause massive damage to the environment and we will never tackle them if serious recommendations are swept under the carpet.”

By Sam Bond

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