Storing oil at your home or business

Storing oil at your business

You must follow the regulations for businesses if your oil container can hold 201 litres or more of:

  • petrol
  • diesel
  • biofuels
  • kerosene
  • vegetable oil and plant-based oils, for example sunflower oil or aromatherapy oil - including waste cooking oil
  • synthetic oils, for example motor oil - including waste oil
  • oils used as solvents
  • biodegradable oils, for example lubricating or hydraulic oils
  • liquid bitumen-based products, for example waterproofing or damp proofing products, or coatings for a road surface

The regulations do not apply to:

  • liquid petroleum gas (LPG)
  • hydrocarbon products that are solid when unheated, like bitumen
  • solvents that are not oil based, for example trichloroethylene
  • aromatic hydrocarbons like benzene and toluene
  • waste mineral oils drained from vehicles, and mixtures of diesel and petrol that cannot be used as vehicle fuel

You must follow different regulations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Other exceptions

You do not have to follow oil storage regulations if your oil is:

The regulations do not apply if your storage containers are:

  • underground
  • in a building that would capture leaking oil - contact your local council to find out if you have to meet any extra fire safety regulations
  • at a refinery
  • at a premises for onward distribution of oil - but not a premises which sells oil directly to end users or a premises that uses oil

Check if you need an environmental permit if you’re storing certain waste oils.

Choosing someone to install your oil storage tank

You should choose someone who’s registered with a ‘Competent Person’ scheme.

You’re responsible for any pollution caused by problems with your oil storage container. You need to know the regulations about oil storage containers, including where it’s located and how it’s protected.


You can be fined if you do not follow the oil storage regulations.

The Environment Agency can also serve an anti-pollution works notice to make you bring your tank up to legal requirements.

Get advice

Contact the Environment Agency if you have a question about following oil storage regulations in England.

Environment Agency
Telephone: 03708 506 506
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

If your business is outside England, contact one of the following: