The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS), the trade association for the UK oil distribution industry, has met with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) regarding the introduction of new legislation which will affect over 95 heating oil and fuel distribution depots across Scotland.

Encouraged by the positive dialogue during the meeting the FPS is requesting that heating oil distributors across Scotland are given more time to complete the initial applications.

The new legislation, which came into force in January 2018, has made changes to regulation for sites which store oils under the existing Oil Storage Regulations (OSR) (Scotland), such that they now come under the scope of the amended Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR).

The FPS pushed for a meeting with SEPA to discuss members concerns and this was held on March 8th.  Although not all issues were resolved at this meeting there was a commitment from SEPA to extend the period between the initial licence application and the introduction of Asset Improvement Plans to 12 months to allow members to discuss issues and plans with SEPA.

FPS Chief Executive Guy Pulham comments: “SEPA say they are open to working closely with the FPS and our members to solve any issues. We understand that SEPA want to put in place processes that are mutually agreeable, so the work will meet their licence criteria but in a timeframe that is cost and cashflow effective for our members. This is encouraging but we are pushing for more of a framework on this and more detail in the SEPA documentation on what this means.

Guy Pulham, adds: “The FPS has been working closely with SEPA throughout this process and, support the general intent to protect the environment to regulate in this area but we are concerned about the impact to our members businesses of the amended CAR, in particular the timescales to implement changes and the cost of the new legislation.

“We were disappointed that after initial consultations on the matter and working with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency throughout 2016, they did not contact the FPS again until October 2017. This was at a time, when the Government is encouraging heating oil distributors to support customers facing fuel poverty. Potential additional costs such as this new legislation will bring about will put further pressure on the heating oil distributor who may have no option but to pass the cost onto the 150,000 households and businesses who use heating oil across Scotland.“

“In the meantime, the FPS will work quickly to ensure that Scottish members have access to templates which will help them determine if they are GBR28 compliant or to complete Pollution Prevention Plans if a licence is required. We are also working with Tank Storage Association (TSA) to ensure that a fit for purpose risk assessment is available to help complete any required Asset Improvement Plans.“

“The FPS will continue to lobby the Scottish Parliament, holding meetings with MSP’s to explain the issues concerning FPS members and continue to work with SEPA encouraging them to look at the cost, the timeframes involved and to make the process clearer and more defined.”