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Warning to farmers over new oil storage regulations.

Farmers and landowners are being warned not to fall foul of new oil storage regulations which came into force at the beginning of September.

There is a risk of confusion with measures which already apply to oil stored for use for agricultural and horticultural purposes, according to Claire Mallen in the Land Management Department of property specialists Strutt & Parker.

Regulations concerning storage of agricultural oils and fuels date back to 1991. The new set of rules applies to oils and fuels which are stored, in tanks exceeding 3,500 litres, for heating a residential property, such as the farmhouse, and for non-agricultural but farm-based business purposes such as holiday accommodation, bed and breakfast facilities, stables, kennels and workshops.

She said: "Farms all over Britain are now home to a wide range of such enterprises which are not directly connected to agriculture.

"They can all be expected to come under the umbrella of the new regulations. If you get it wrong the penalty can be high. Failure to comply with the rules can lead to a fine of up to pounds 5,000 and an actual pollution incident could lead to an unlimited fine and a criminal conviction.

"There's an even more serious risk which is that if you fail to comply with the rules and you do get involved in a leakage which leads to damage to the environment or to neighbouring property, your insurer may refuse to pay up."

The principal requirements of the regulations are the provision of spillage containment by means of a bund (a leak-proof barrier) surrounding any storage tank, and its ancillary equipment and pipework, which contains more than 200 litres (the capacity of the standard 40 gallon oil drum).

Bunds will also protect tanks and pipework from accidental damage. The bund must be capable of holding 110% of the capacity of the tank which it protects.

Where material is stored in drums the bund must be sufficient to contain 25% of the content of the drums.

Pipework and valves must be regularly inspected for any sign of leaks or corrosion and underground pipes should be tested for leaks.

Fitting equipment to automatically prevent overfilling is a further requirement and all installations should be fitted with suitable locks to prevent a pollution incident occurring as a result of an attempted theft.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 9, 2005
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