Scots roll out regulations on oil storage

Regulations designed to protect against oil spills north of the border have been introduced by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) - which is now offering advice to industry on how to ensure its tanks comply.

Over the next four years, Scottish industry will need to comply with new Oil Storage Regulations

Since 1991, similar regulations which also cover slurry and silage tanks have applied to farmers and this guidance has led to a reduction in agricultural pollution incidents.

The agency is hopeful that by extending the regulations to cover all industry it will replicate the results elsewhere and provide wider protection.

The new regulations will come into force in three stages, with new tanks installed after April 1, 2006 needing to be compliant by the beginning of October this year, existing tanks within 10m of a waterway or lake needing to meet the standards by April 2008 and all other tanks having to comply by April 1, 2010.

At the heart of the new regulations is a requirement for a secondary containment area such as a bund or drip tray for all tanks with a capacity of 200 litres or more, to avoid any contamination of nearby waterways in the case of a leak or spill.

David Campbell, a spokesman for SEPA said: “Oil pollution incidents account for around 16% of all pollution incidents in Scotland. These often have a significant detrimental impact on the environment; involve expensive remediation, with clean up costs ranging from £10,000 for a small incident to around £250,000 for a major incident.

“The Water Environment (Oil Storage) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 introduce an industry standard for oil storage which will improve the quality and security of oil storage with the minimum of intervention by SEPA. We expect them to help reduce oil pollution incidents, reduce clean up costs for industry and improve water quality even further.”

Domestic oil storage tanks serving domestic houses will be exempt, provided their capacity is less than 2500 litres and they are do not pose a significant risk of causing pollution.

Sam Bond

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