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Petroleum Filling Station Licence

Petrol is a highly flammable liquid and gives off flammable vapour even at very low temperatures. When this vapour is mixed with air in proportions between 1% and 8% a risk of fire or explosion exists. Petrol vapour is heavier than air and does not disperse easily in still conditions. It tends to sink to the lowest possible level of its surroundings and may accumulate in tanks, cavities, drains, pits or other depressions.

Trading Standards

Trading Standards check that the quantity petrol pumps deliver and the price that is displayed is correct. Petrol pumps are tested, by trading standards officers, before being used by the public and sealed to prevent them being tampered with. Trading Standards will also investigate any complaints of alleged short measure. For more information regarding these matters pleases contact us.

Petroleum Filling Station Licence

A licence is required to store petrol if the purpose for which petroleum is used is:

  • ‘Retail Petroleum Filling Station’ meaning the premises is used, or intended for use, for dispensing petroleum-spirit to the public for use in motor vehicles, ships or aircraft by way of sale.
  • ‘Non-Retail Petroleum Filling Station’ means premises used, or intended for use, for dispensing petroleum-spirit for use in motor vehicles, ships, but does not include any retail petroleum filling station.
  • ‘Private use’ means the storage and use at a place or site where no person is employed to work.


The Licence or a copy of the licence, and any licence conditions issued, must be kept on the licensed premises. The quantity of Petroleum-Spirit kept at any one time on the licensed premises, excluding petroleum-spirit in the tanks of motor vehicles, shall not exceed the amount specified in the licence.

Petroleum Licensing Authority

The petroleum licensing authority is the West Midlands Fire Authority who are responsible for ensuring safety at sites where petrol is delivered, stored and dispensed. The keeping of petrol must be in accordance with conditions attached to a licence issued under the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928. When an Inspector appointed by the licensing authority visits a petrol filling station the aim is to ensure the observance, maintenance and, where necessary, the improvement of safety standards.

You can find more information on the West Midlands Fire Authority website.

Contact details

West Midlands Fire Authority
Fire Safety Centre,
Oldbury Fire Safety Centre
Old Park Lane,
Birmingham B69 4PU.
Tel: 0121 544 7209

Other Health and Safety Considerations

In addition to the general duties established under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (s.2, 3, 4, 7 and 8) the following legislation may also be of relevance in premises visited by local authority health and safety inspectors:

  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. (Risk assessment, appointment of competent persons etc)

  • COSHH 1999 (assessment and control of risks arising from substances hazardous to health).

  • Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)(iv) Electricity at Work Regulations 1989(v) Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

  • Petrol and COSHH 1999

  • Aspiration is the entry of liquid into the lungs following swallowing and subsequent vomiting. Petrol is classified as 'Harmful by ingestion' owing to this aspiration hazard i.e. the risk of chemical pneumonitis, and not because of its acute toxicity i.e. poisoning, properties. Petrol is also classified as a skin irritant, due to its potential to cause dermatitis. The presence of up to 5% benzene means that petrol is classified as Carcinogenic, Category 2 (See element on 'Carcinogens' in this manual for further guidance).

Under COSHH 1999 a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is required for all jobs carried out involving petrol. This may involve emergency procedures (spillage or accidental ingestion), protective clothing to prevent skin contact and precautions to control exposure by inhalation.