WHAT FUEL COMPANIES NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CHANGES TO THE DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES REGULATIONS

On 1st April 2020, new regulations for fuel retail and distribution companies came into effect, with significant implications for Dangerous Substances Licences applications. While these regulations are expected to increase safety standards for employees, the general public and the environment, the licence application process is anticipated to become slightly more complicated and onerous for operators of these premises.

The 1979 regulations have become obsolete and unenforceable due to incompatibility with modern industry standards, best practice health and safety guidelines and environmental protection practices.

These new regulations, S.I. No. 630/2019 (https://bit.ly/3eXpIRC) and 631/2019 (https://bit.ly/2xfhnrf) repeal and replace the 1979 regulations and make a number of significant changes to the petroleum sector.

Who do these regulations apply to?Dangerous Substances

The regulations outlined in S.I. 630/2019 apply to the storage and handling of flammable liquids and fuels at the following sites:

  • New Kerbside retail store for the purposes of sale or supply to the public
  • Existing kerbside retail stores upon their next licence renewal

The regulations outlined in S.I. 631/2019 apply to stores which hold flammable liquids and fuels for the following purposes:

  • Supply or sale to commercial enterprises
  • Supply to the licensee’s own vehicles
  • Use in any engine under the licensee’s control

What are the key changes for fuel retail and distribution companies?

Provision for diesel and biofuels are included in these new regulations. The 1972 Dangerous Substances Act only provided for the licensing of “petroleum-spirt” and “petroleum” mainly due the highly explosive properties of these substances. While diesel is not combustible at ambient temperatures, it still poses an environmental risk and as such, is now subjected to the same controls as other flammable liquids. The regulations also apply to the increasingly prevalent presence of bio-fuels within the Irish market.

Use of industry standards rather than explicitly outlining the requirements in the text of the statutory instrument. The main difficulty with the 1979 regulations is that they quickly became obsolete relative to industry best practices. Following industry consultation, stores are now required to comply with practices outlined in the most recent edition of the ‘Blue Book’ and ‘Red Guide’.

Comprehensive risk assessment completed by a competent person is to be submitted with all new licence applications and licence renewals. These risk assessments must be carried out in accordance with several guidance documents outlined in the regulations and must indicate proposals to make the site as safe as practicable in line with industry standards.

Submission of detailed engineering drawings to be included in all new licence applications and renewals. These are to include scale drawings of Site Location, Ground Plan, Tank Plan and Electrical Apparatus.

Completion of any works within a specified timeline as deemed necessary by the licensing authority. The aim of this stipulation is to bring all fuel storage facilities above a certain a standard of industry best practices. Failure to have a licence or to comply with the conditions of a licence will constitute an offence under the Act and the licensee can be prosecuted by the licensing authority.

ORS can cover all your licensing needs and provides the following services:

  • Comprehensive Risk Assessment
  • Fire Safety Certificate
  • Fire Fighting Plan
  • Evacuation Plan
  • Explosion Protection Document
  • Electrical Safety Certificate
  • Petrol Vapour Recovery Certificate
  • Full Suite of Engineering Drawings (Site Location, Ground Plan, Tank Plan, Electrics)

If your Dangerous Substances licence is up for renewal contact Niall Reilly today.


Niall Reilly
Business Development Manager
P: 086 3748317
E: n.reilly@ors.ie