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Oil Tank Regulations; An Overview

Oil tanks in the UK are subject to various regulations to ensure the safety of you, your property and the environment. It is your responsibility to have your tank checked annually to ensure compliance with current regulations.

Exact regulations vary depending on where you are in the UK, and it is always advisable to speak with a local OFTEC registered technician to get specific advice. 

In this post, we will provide an overview of domestic oil tank regulations, focusing on what you need to be mindful of on your property to help give you an understanding of what you need to know about the location and installation of your oil tank.

OIL TANK BUILDING REGULATIONS

Domestic oil tank installations must comply with regional building regulations. These will impact the type of tank you can have on your property and whether or not you’ll need planning permission. 

As of 2022, you won’t need planning permission as long as:

  • Your tank does not exceed a 3500-litre capacity
  • Your tank isn’t being stored in front of the main elevation fronting a public road
  • The height of your tank is not greater than 3 metres
  • If your tank is within 2 metres of a boundary, you need to ensure the height of the tank is no greater than 2.5 metres

If your home is listed, you will need planning permission and will need to follow strict oil tank regulations. Your local OFTEC registered engineer will be able to advise you on what is required. Though, as a general rule, the additional regulations you will need to adhere to for a listed property are as follows:

  • If your tank’s location is above ground, it must have a protective fireguard.
  • If your tank is near groundwater, it must have extra protection from spillages and leaks (e.g., the tank must be bunded).
  • Where the pipe enters the building, a fire valve must be installed.

OIL TANK INSTALLATION REGULATIONS

If you are looking to install a new tank or need to replace your old one, it is a good idea to ensure the location of your tank is up to date with current regulations.

OIL TANK LOCATION

There are specific rules that govern where you can locate your tank. These must be adhered to when installing or replacing an oil tank or planning subsequent changes to your property. These rules are in place to protect you and your home.

OFTEC’s guidelines state a tank should be:

  • 1.8m away from non-fire rated eaves of a building
  • 1.8m away from a non-fire rated building or structure (e.g. garden sheds)
  • 1.8m away from openings (such as doors or windows) in a fire rated building or structure (e.g. brick-built house/garage)
  • 1.8m away from liquid fuel appliance flue terminals
  • 760mm away from a non-fire rated boundary, such as a wooden boundary fence
  • 600mm away from screening (e.g. trellis and foliage) that does not form part of the boundary.

If you are unable to meet these requirements, then a fire protection barrier with a minimum fire rating of 30 minutes needs to be installed.

OIL TANK BASE

Where your tank is located is not the only thing you need to consider. You also need to consider the type of base that will support your tank. 

Key things to take into consideration are:

  • Weight-bearing capabilities of the tank once filled – not only must the base be able to support the tank, but it also needs to support the tank once filled with oil.
  • The base material used must be impermeable and made from non-combustible materials. 
  • The siting of the base to ensure it complies with regulations around the location of your oil tank.
variety of oil tank bases

Whilst we have done our best to provide you with an overview for general guidance, we recommend you contact your local OFTEC-registered technician to guide you based on your specific circumstances. You can also find out more about OFTEC regulations for home oil storage here.

OIL TANK REGULATIONS FAQs

HOW CLOSE TO MY BUILDING/BOUNDARY CAN I PUT AN OIL TANK

Current regulations state that your oil tank must not be positioned within 1.8 metres of any structures that are not fire-rated. The tank must also be over 760mm from the boundary of your property where non-fire-rated materials are used, such as a wooden fence, and 600mm away from any screenings, such as a trellis.

CAN I PUT A SHED NEXT TO MY OIL TANK

The shed would need to be over 1.8 metres from the oil tank to comply with regulations. 

DO I NEED TO HAVE A WALL AROUND MY OIL TANK

If you are unable to comply with the current regulations of 1.8m and 760mm, then you must have a protective barrier that will last for at least 30 minutes in the event of a fire.