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HMRC internal manual

Oils Technical Manual

Law - background: European and environmental legislation


In addition to legislation regarding the production, import, movement, storage, removal and distribution of mineral oils, and the introduction of recent legislation concerning the measurement and metering of liquid fuels, the oils industry has become increasingly involved with other EU and UK legislation concerned with protection of the environment and the control of the disposal of oils waste.

Some of this new legislation is designed to reduce carbon emissions and to encourage the greater use of waste products. Whilst we may not have responsibility for this new anti-pollution legislation, which focuses on the recovery and recycling of wastes and on the environmentally safe disposal of any waste residues, the effect of the legislation on oils has been to rule out some options for dealing with waste oil which were previously available to the oils industry.

For information on EU Legislation please see HCOTEG21000.

Details of the main environmental legislation affecting the use and disposal of waste oils, is provided below for information.

Energy Products Directive * (EPD) 2003/96/EC [also known as the Energy Tax Directive (ETD)]

This directive sets minimum rates of duty for ‘energy products’ including the use of mineral oils throughout the community. This directive can impinge on the control of waste oils, such as Tied Oil, especially where these are to be disposed of via incineration, and where this may produce useful heat or power as a by-product. The full body of the text can be found using Lex-Nex on the website. The EPD is being revised and there may be changes announced in 2014-15.

Waste Oils Directive (WOD) 75/439/EC

On the disposal of waste oils:

The full body of the text can be found using Lex-Nex on the website.

Waste Incineration Directive (WID) 2000/76/EC

This has many implications for the disposal of waste oil that would otherwise have been used for heating. In practise it means that only blast furnaces and specialist incinerators can deal with it which creates a problem for disposal.

Hazardous Waste Directive (HWD) 91/689/EC

On Hazardous substances:

Annex 1A covers mineral oils and oily substances (e.g. cutting sludges, etc), oil/water, hydrocarbon/water mixes, emulsions. Tarry materials resulting from refining, distillation and any pyrolytic treatment (e.g. still bottoms).

Annex 1B covers animal or vegetable soaps, fats and waxes (which may result from Biofuel production) together with vegetable oils. The full body of the text can be found using Lex-Nex on the website.

Directive 94/63/EC control of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions

resulting from the storage of petrol and its distribution from terminals to service stations. This is the legislation dealing with what is commonly known as vapour recovery. All storage facilities and refineries have these units. Although referred to as recovery, the vapour that is returned to liquid is made up of the more volatile parts and is thus returned to the main product in way that ensures it is well diluted. Remember that this vapour was once liquid and as liquid has already been taxed. Consequently we allow relief of duty on recovered vapour.