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Petrol Vapour Recovery Permit

Many service stations require an Environmental Permit, which ensures that controls are in place to recover petrol vapour that can be lost to the atmosphere during the following activities.

  1. The unloading of petrol into stationary storage tanks from a road tanker, and
  2. The refuelling of motor vehicle petrol tanks

Controls to minimise vapour loss from the unloading of petrol into storage tanks are referred to as Stage 1 vapour recovery controls.

Controls to minimise vapour loss from the filling of vehicle tanks are referred to as Stage 2 vapour recovery controls.

Is an Environmental Permit required?

A service station will require an Environmental Permit in the following circumstances.

  1. New Service stations (those brought into operation after 31st December 2009): A permit covering Stage 1 and Stage 2 vapour recovery will be required if the annual throughput of petrol is, or is likely to be, 500m3 or more per annum.

  2. Existing service stations (those brought into operation before 31st December 2009): A permit covering Stage 1 vapour recovery will be required if the annual amount of petrol unloaded at the station is, or is likely to be, 500m3 or more. The permit will also need to cover Stage 2 vapour recovery if the annual throughput of petrol at the station is, or is likely to be, 3500m3 or more.

Service Stations that meet the above thresholds must apply for an Environmental Permit from the Local Authority. It is an offence to operate a service station without one.

Eligibility Criteria

Only a person who has control over the operation of a regulated facility may obtain or hold an Environmental Permit. This person is the “operator”. A permit application may be made by an agent on behalf of the operator.

How much does it cost?

Fees are required for the application for a permit, annual subsistence of the permit and transfers of the permit. The fees normally change annually so for this year's fees please view the fee information.

When should you apply for a permit?

If you require a permit then one must be obtained before you start to operate a new petrol service station. The Local Authority can take up to 4 months to process an application for a permit and so you must ensure that you allow enough time to obtain the permit before you start operating.  

If a permit is granted it will contain conditions imposed by the Local Authority that must be complied with by law. Such conditions aim to ensure that the amount of vapour that can be lost during tanker deliveries and the filling of motor vehicles is minimised.

Petroleum Filling Station Licence

The storage of petrol at a service station is subject to a separate licence, a  Petroleum Filling Station Licence, which is issued by the Petroleum Licensing Authority. The Petroleum Licensing Authority for service stations in the Dudley Borough is:

West Midlands Fire Authority
West Midlands Fire Safety Centre
Retreat Street
Wolverhampton
WV3 0RG

Variation to a Permit

If a station already has a permit for Stage 1 vapour recovery but the threshold for Stage 2 is likely to be exceeded then the existing permit will need to be varied to incorporate controls for Stage 2 vapour recovery. An application for a variation will need to be made to the local authority. An online application form for a variation is currently under development. At the present time you will need to apply for a variation by downloading the application form at the bottom of this page. You can then send us a completed and signed application form.

How do I apply?

You can apply by any of the following means:

  • Using our online application form This service requires an online payment; you will be taken to the secure payment facility upon submission of this form.
  • Download the application form at the bottom of this page. You can send us a completed and signed application form together with a cheque for the correct amount or bringing it to us in person at our offices.
  • Contacting us in writing, telephone or email. Please use the contact forms below to request an application form.

Application Evaluation Process

Pre- application discussions between operators and regulators can help in improving the quality of the formal permit application and are therefore encouraged. The permit application must be made on the form provided, it must include all the information required by the form and it must be accompanied by the relevant fee.

If the application is correctly made and includes the relevant fee it will be “duly made” which means it has been accepted by the Council.

The permit application will not be duly made if for instance;

  • It has not been submitted on the correct form,

  • It does not adequately address a key point in the application,

  • The relevant fee does not accompany the permit application.

We aim to decide whether an application has been duly made within 10 working days of receipt.

How long will my application take to process?

A local authority should determine an application for a Part B petrol station environmental permit within 4 months of the application being duly made.

This time period of 4 months does not include any time taken for the request for additional information.

We will confirm that we have received your application. Please contact us if you have any queries using the details below.

Can I start to operate a permitted process without a permit being issued? (i.e. will tacit consent apply)

No. It is illegal to operate a permitted process without a permit being issued.

No new installation or substantial change to an existing installation may be operated without a permit or variation. It is an offence under EP regulation 38(1)(a) to operate a regulated facility without a permit and to the extent authorised by that permit.

The charging scheme for fees specifies a higher than normal fee for applications made where an operator has been operating a listed activity unlawfully without a permit.

In the event that new categories of activity are subsequently added by future amendments to the EP Regulations, those amendment Regulations will  include deadlines by which applications must be made for new and existing installations.

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us using the details at the bottom of the page.

Your Right of Appeal

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a permit or by any condition to which a permit is subject may appeal to the Planning Inspectorate who may give such directions regarding the permit or its conditions as it thinks proper.

Making a complaint

If you feel we have failed to provide you with good service or are concerned about the progress of your application, please contact us and we will endeavour to resolve any concerns you may have. We also have a formal complaints procedure.

Trade Associations

It is advisable to contact your trade association for advice about completing the permit application form and methodology for compliance with the legislation.

Where can I get further information?

Please visit the DEFRA website for further information.

Contact Details

  • Name Environmental Protection
  • Address Directorate of the Urban Environment, 4 Ednam Road, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 1HL
  • Telephone 0300 555 2345
  • Fax 01384 815599