New oil storage regulations in Wales

In early February 2016, Welsh Government laid the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (Wales) Regulations before parliament. Below, OFTEC summarises the scope and principal requirement of the regulations and explains the transitional provisions affecting its application.

The proposed regulations apply to all oil storage facilities:

  • with a capacity exceeding 200L
  • installed above ground
  • installed on any premises, including domestic and agricultural oil storage, except oil distribution depots and oil refineries

The principal requirement

The regulations set standards for oil storage facilities which aim to prevent the escape of oil and the resulting risk of water pollution and/or damage to land and property. The principal requirement is for secondary containment (bunding) to prevent any leaks from the oil storage facilities escaping into the wider environment.

Transitional arrangements

The requirements apply to all new oil storage facilities from the date that the regulations come in to force on 15th March. This means that for the installation of new domestic oil storage facilities (tanks up to 3,500 litres capacity installed at a building used primarily as a dwelling) the tank risk assessment in building regulations Part J will no longer apply.

Existing oil storage facilities, other than domestic, will need to comply between two and four years later, depending on the risk they pose to the environment. The transitional arrangement taken from the draft regulations was as follows:

Where oil is stored in a container which was first used for that purpose before the regulations came into force, the container must comply with the regulations:

(a) within two years after the regulations come into force if the container is situated less than 10 metres away from any inland freshwaters or coastal waters, or 50 metres away from a well or borehole;

(b) within four years after the regulations come into force in any other case.


OFTEC is due to release an update to OFTEC Technical Book 3, which will be available to download from via the registered technicians’ area. Be sure to check the monthly OFTEC e-news bulletin where book updates are announced.