Legal requirements for oil storage
The minimum legal requirements for oil storage depends on where you are in the UK and what your stored oil will be used for or if it’s waste oil.
Check the details below to find what applies to your oil store.
Oil storage regulations for home owners in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland; the building regulations
If you store oil at your home for heating or cooking it’s a legal requirement to meet current building regulations every time you have a new or replacement oil tank.
Building regulations provide a framework for minimum technical and performance standards associated with the design and construction of buildings and fixed services. There are building regulation requirements for fuel storage and supply systems for heating oil or LPG.
You can check how to meet these requirements, and make sure any trades people you pay to do work are meeting them too, by following regional guidance:
- Building regulations approved documents for England, document J
- Building standards technical handbooks for Scotland
- Building regulations technical booklets for Northern Ireland
- Building regulations approved documents for Wales, document J
Requirements can differ by region so it’s important to identify what you need to do.
Oil storage regulations for home owners in Wales
If you store oil at your home in Wales for heating or cooking, you must comply with the requirements of the Oil Storage Regulations for Wales every time you have a new or replacement oil tank.
You should check your local permitted development rights for the installation of a domestic oil tank before you have a tank installed. More information is available in the Welsh Government technical guide on Permitted development for householders.
Oil storage regulations for business
If you store and or use oil in the UK, you must comply with the requirements of the country you are based in as there are specific Oil Storage Regulations for each one.
For Northern Ireland, The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010
Oil storage regulations for farms
The legal requirements for oil storage at farms may depend on what the oil will be used for.
If you store more than 1500 litres of oil in total at your farm to provide heat or power for agricultural work, and the storage has been installed, significantly enlarged or constructed since 1991, you need to comply with the Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil) Regulations (England) 2010 as amended 2013.
If you store oil at agricultural premises for a business that isn’t agriculture related The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 apply.
For Northern Ireland:
If your oil store is to provide heat or power for agricultural work you need to comply with The Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2003.
If you store oil, for any purpose at a farm, you need to comply with the The Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Oil Storage) (Wales) Regulations 2016.
Waste oil storage and disposal for business
Waste mineral oil fuels, lubricants and allied products are deemed to be hazardous waste and regulatory control of these rests with the devolved Governments’.
General advice on Hazardous Waste oil storage and its subsequent movement for recovery or disposal is given at https://www.gov.uk/dispose-hazardous-waste/overview.
More specific guidance on oil storage of waste for commercial and business streams is available at https://www.gov.uk/managing-your-waste-an-overview/storage.
If you’re storing waste synthetic or vegetable oils you must follow The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001.
If you’re storing waste mineral oils you must follow the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
For Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:
You must follow the Oil Storage Regulations for the respective country for all waste oils.
In addition to the Regulations on oil storage, you must follow the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
Used motor oil disposal
If you have a small quantity of used motor oil in your home that you need to dispose of and are resident in the UK, please use the Oil bank line to find your nearest UK oil bank site to dispose of your used engine oil responsibly.
Used cooking oil disposal
You should never dispose of used cooking oil to surface water drains, or into the foul sewer without prior approval from your local water company.
The disposal route for used cooking oil varies on whether the oil was produced at a domestic or commercial premises.
Commercial oil disposal
You mustn’t dispose of used cooking oil from commercial sites with general waste. You should store the oil separately from other wastes in a suitable container. Commercial waste cooking oil should be collected by a waste carrier or if you move your own waste oil you must follow waste legislation.
For Northern Ireland:
Domestic oil disposal
As a householder you may be able to dispose of your waste cooking oil with your normal household waste, check with your local authority if they accept this type of waste. Waste cooking oil can be soaked into normal household rubbish or placed into rigid plastic containers.
Some civic amenity sites have the facility to accept waste cooking oil. Contact your local authority to see if your local site has this facility.