Licence summary

To run a business where petrol is stored for dispensing directly into the fuel tank of an internal combustion engine - or where large amounts of petrol are stored for private use - you need a licence from your local petroleum licensing authority. Applications should be made to Falkirk Council.

  • Fees will be payable for a licence
  • Conditions may be attached to a licence

Eligibility criteria

The Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928 (as amended by DSEAR) requires that anyone operating a petrol filling station should have a licence issued by their local Petroleum Licensing Authority.

The licence is renewed at regular intervals, currently annually. The requirement applies both to retail and non-retail filling stations - those that dispense petrol to the general public and those which only dispense petrol into their own vehicles. Petrol filling stations are defined as sites that dispense petrol into vehicles, boats or aircraft by electrical or mechanical means.

The licences have conditions relating to safe storage, dispensing, maintenance, record-keeping etc. The requirements of DSEAR also apply.

Prior to the introduction of DSEAR, anyone storing significant amounts of petrol required a licence. However the requirement now applies only to operators of petrol filling stations and certain non-workplace situations where significant amounts of petrol are stored for private use.

Regulation summary

Application evaluation process

Any application received by Falkirk Council will be processed as quickly as possible and, in any event, within a period of 2 weeks. This period will run from the time that all of the required information has been submitted.

The cost for a licence to keep petroleum spirit ranges from £42 to £120, depending on the quantity to be stored.


These fees are prescribed and are exempt from VAT.

Fee type not exceeding 2,500 litres exceeding 2,500 but not exceeding 50,000 litres over 50,000 litres
Licence to keep petroleum spirit of a quantity £44.00 £60.00 £125.00

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that Falkirk Council must process your application before it can be granted.

If you have not heard from us within 2 weeks, please contact us.

How to apply

To apply or renew a licence for the storage of petroleum, you can complete the form below and send it to Falkirk Council by email or post:

Failed application and licence holder redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

If an application is refused, the applicant may appeal to the Secretary of State.

Consumer complaint

If you have a complaint, please contact the trader first, preferably in writing. If you do this by letter, make sure you get proof of delivery.

If you've done this and feel your complaint still hasn't been resolved, contact the Citizens Advice Bureau.

But if you do not live in the UK, you'll need to contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

For example; complaints about noise, pollution, etc should be directed to the Environmental Protection Unit.

Environmental Protection Unit
Abbotsford House
Davids Loan

Additional information

Storage of petroleum

Petrol is a highly flammable liquid and gives off flammable vapour even at very low temperatures. When this vapour is mixed with air in proportions between 1% and 8% a risk of fire or explosion exists. Petrol vapour is heavier than air and does not disperse easily in still conditions. It tends to sink to the lowest possible level of its surroundings and may accumulate in tanks, cavities, drains, pits or other depressions.

Flammable atmospheres may also exist where clothing or other absorbent material or substances are contaminated with petrol. Petrol vapour can have acute or chronic effects if inhaled and therefore should be considered in the assessment required under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 (COSHH).

The petroleum licensing authority is Falkirk Council (Trading Standards) who are responsible for ensuring safety at sites where petrol is delivered, stored and dispensed.

The keeping of petrol must be in accordance with conditions attached to a licence issued under the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928. When an Inspector appointed by the licensing authority visits a petrol filling station the aim is to ensure the observance, maintenance and, where necessary, the improvement of safety standards.

Other safety-related legislation is enforced by district councils or the HSE, dependent on the main activity at the premises concerned.

At the time of writing there are proposals being considered for changes to petrol legislation. These may affect licensing and health and safety enforcement responsibilities. Contact your enforcing authority for the current position.

Petroleum licensing - petrol filling stations

Safety aspects of petroleum delivery, storage and dispensing are the responsibility of the licensing authority. The contact details are shown. Officers work to, and are able to give advice on, nationally produced guidance such as:

  • HS(G) 146 - Dispensing petrol. Assessing and controlling the risk of fire and explosion at sites where petrol is stored and dispensed as a fuel

Other health and safety considerations

In addition to the general duties established under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (s.2, 3, 4, 7 and 8) the following legislation may also be of relevance in premises visited by Falkirk Council health and safety inspectors.

  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. (Risk assessment, appointment of competent persons etc).
  • COSHH 1999 (assessment and control of risks arising from substances hazardous to health).
  • Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)(iv) Electricity at Work Regulations 1989(v) Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Petrol and COSHH 1999

Aspiration is the entry of liquid into the lungs following swallowing and subsequent vomiting. Petrol is classified as 'Harmful by ingestion' owing to this aspiration hazard i.e. the risk of chemical pneumonitis, and not because of its acute toxicity i.e. poisoning, properties. Petrol is also classified as a skin irritant, due to its potential to cause dermatitis. The presence of up to 5% benzene means that petrol is classified as carcinogenic.

Under COSHH 1999 a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is required for all jobs carried out involving petrol. This may involve emergency procedures (spillages or accidental ingestion), protective clothing to prevent skin contact and precautions to control exposure by inhalation.

Petrol - general safety

Where petrol might be used (eg mobile equipment, generators) or workers exposed to other petrol fire/explosion risks (eg garage workshops) an assessment needs to be carried out on the risks involved to ensure that adequate control measures are taken. Leaflets giving advice on petrol safety are available, covering safe storage, carriage and use.

When draining petrol tanks, appropriate advice includes:

  • choose a level, well-ventilated area, preferably out of doors
  • never drain petrol over a pit
  • keep all sources of ignition well away
  • use a proper fuel retriever or syphon
  • if draining into a container, use a funnel
  • do not attempt hot work on petrol tanks

Checklist - petrol and petrol filling stations

  • Have you carried out a COSHH assessment regarding exposure to petrol?
  • As a premises storing/dispensing petrol as a fuel do you comply with the licence issued by your petroleum licensing authority?
  • For other premises where petrol is used or handled, have you carried out a risk assessment for the activities concerned?
  • Have you implemented appropriate measures to control the fire/explosion risks identified in your risk assessment?
  • Have you informed or instructed employees of the health and safety risks associated with petrol and appropriate precautions that should be taken?

Requirements for the unloading of petroleum spirit at petrol filling stations and other licenced premises

The licensee must ensure that all petrol storage tanks, dipsticks, gauges, offset fills and vapour recovery pipes are clearly labelled.

Before delivery of petroleum spirit begins:

  • a competent person (other than the tanker driver) must be nominated by the Licensee to be in charge of the storage tanks

A competent person means a person with enough practical and theoretical knowledge and actual experience to carry out the task safely and effectively.

This person must not allow delivery to begin until:

  • the tank has been checked to ensure delivery can be accepted without overflow
  • the vapour balance hose (if applicable) and then the delivery hose have been correctly connected
  • any other dipping opening in that tank has been securely closed
  • the tank has been isolated from other storage tanks by the closure of suitable valves
  • part A of the delivery certificate has been filled in by the competent person in the presence of the tanker driver. This must be done only after compliance with 1-4 above

The driver of the road tanker should then complete Part B of the certificate.

The driver should not begin delivery into the storage tank until:

  • he/she has correctly connected the vapour balance hose and the delivery hose to the appropriate tank and tanker faucets
  • the competent person is keeping watch in close proximity to the tanker

During the delivery:

  • the competent person must stay in the vicinity of the tanker/tanks and keep a constant watch to prevent a hazardous situation arising
  • the driver must keep a constant watch on the hoses and tanker to ensure, as far as possible, that no petrol escapes
  • the competent person must also keep a constant watch on the hoses and tanker to ensure, as far as possible, that no petrol escapes

After the delivery:

  • the competent person must give the top copy of the delivery certificate to the tanker driver who must then give it to the petrol supplier who must * keep it for not less than 12 months after the delivery
  • the second copy of the certificate must be retained by the Licensee on the site for not less than 12 months after the delivery

This is an abbreviated form of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations 1996 Schedule 12.

Failure to comply with these regulations may lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000.