This is an article from the September Bulletin Issue written by Clare Scawthorn, Technical Manager, PRA

The Petroleum and Enforcement Liaison Group (PELG) met on Thursday 15 June 2023. As some of you may know PELG has three key work activities to deliver, and the following is an update on where they currently stand:

1. Review and update guidance to support site operators.

This work stream has seen the Red Guide re-structured and minor alterations made to cover changes in fire safety legislation, updates to legislative and guidance reference points and to add in guidance on payment for fuel by various means such as payment by phone or app. To support ease of reading, an executive summary has also been created and this will sit alongside the Red Guide. At the time of writing, it is expected for the revised guide to be published in Autumn 2023.

2. Establish training for regulators to better understand the legal frameworks and how to apply them.

PELG has worked with the APEA on their existing online training content to create a package aimed at regulators and cross referenced this against the role map of an inspector’s role, to make sure all key aspects are covered. Completion of the combined eight modules is deemed to provide inspectors with a foundation level of knowledge to support them in carrying out their role.

The eight modules include:

  • Key Areas of the Filling Station
  • The Future of Fuel
  • Drainage Principles
  • Road Tanker Delivery & Consignor Requirements
  • Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014
  • Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002
  • Preparing for Inspection
  • The Red Guide

More information on the courses can be found on the APEA website training page.

3. Create a standardised risk-based inspection regime for national use.

The last review of the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 identified that across the UK, petroleum enforcement authorities do not have a standard process to follow when carrying out inspections, how often they carry out inspections and what criteria they apply to determine the risk rating of a site. To address this, PELG has established a working group to create a risk-based framework which authorities can apply to sites to generate a risk ranking and in turn determine an appropriate re-inspection rate. The work in this area is in the early stages and it is expected for this work stream to be completed in 2024.

Other important updates to note are:

Petroleum storage certificates

The HSE has worked with PELG to create guidance to support regulators and keepers of petrol to understand when a petroleum storage certificate is needed for premises which do not meet the standard dispensing premises criteria i.e. a petrol filling station. A flowchart has been devised which allows users to work their way through the questions to determine if a certificate is required for their premises to be able to store and dispense petrol. When approved by the HSE policy and legal teams, this will be published on the Energy Institute website, and will be free to access.

Fee increases

The fees petroleum enforcement authorities can recover for a premises with a storage certificate are set out in law and have been increased.

The new annual price operators pay from 1 April 2023 are:

  • Band A – storage not exceeding 2,500 litres of petrol – £46 per annum.
  • Band B – storage exceeding 2,500 but not exceeding 50,000 litres of petrol – £62 per annum.
  • Band C – storage exceeding 50,000 litres of petrol – £131 per annum.The increased fees are not retrospective and will only apply to sites when their current fee payment period comes to an end.

Legislation review

It is also important to note that the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 will be reviewed again shortly. This is a legal requirement within the regulations, which stipulates they must be reviewed every five years to ensure they are still delivering their aims and there are no unwanted consequences i.e., there are no unforeseen and unnecessary burdens placed on any parties. The HSE will put out a questionnaire to gather information and feedback in the coming months to facilitate the review.