Spill Control & Containment Regulations In The UK

Spill control and containment is a legal requirement for businesses across the UK and Pro Spill try to explain the importance of spill management in the workplace to avoid prosecution by not complying with these laws. Currently the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations (2001) apply in England, the Water Environment (Oil Storage) Regulations (2006) apply in Scotland and the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations (2010) apply in Northern Ireland. As of 2015, there is no equivalent regulations for Wales.

Spill control and containment is crucial as oil and chemical spills can have a wide range of effects on the immediate and surrounding environment, also affecting wildlife and humans that it comes into contact with.

Here are some of the general oil storage regulations that need to be complied with if you store 200 litres or more of oil aboveground (part of The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations (2001));

  • All oil containers must be sufficiently bunded
  • The bund must hold 110% of the capacity of the largest container or;
  • 25% of the total capacity stored, whichever is the greater
  • If a single drum is being used, a drip tray can be used which holds 25% of the capacity
  • Any valve, filter, sight gauge or vent pipe must be situated within the secondary containment (bund or drip tray)
  • If a fill pipe is not within the secondary container, an additional drip tray must be attached under this

Many pollution incidents are avoidable and failure to comply with the law could result in personal prosecution and huge fines. The Pollution Prevention Guidelines, which is jointly provided by all the national environment agencies, gives guidance on how to avoid pollution and compliance with the law.


What’s in it for you?

Legal compliance – If businesses cause pollution or don’t comply with these regulations, actions may be taken against you. This can include everyone involved, and can vary from a fine, being sent to prison and having to cover all costs of the damage.

Save money – If pollution is caused, pay out costs can be huge including the clean-up and higher insurance rates. Spill kits can prevent this and they are available from just £11.99 (ex VAT) for a 15 litre spill kit; a small price to pay to prevent huge amounts of damage. Click here to view range of spill kits.

Manage risk – businesses which manage their risks are better prepared to deal efficiently with problems that may arise. Managing risks gives you peace of mind and can maximise the success of a business.

Enhance reputation – Legal compliance and implementing good practice will improve business reputation with all stakeholders.

“Remember, a little effort can go a long way to protect you and your business from the serious consequences of pollution” – Environment Agency