Petroleum licencing

If you store petroleum for commercial or retail purposes, and it is dispensed by electrical or mechanical means, you must have a licence.

For licensing purposes ‘Petroleum’ means - any product of crude petroleum which has a flashpoint below 21°C. This includes petrol, benzene, pentane and any mixture which contains these products and has a flashpoint below 21°C. This doesn't include white spirit, paraffin, diesel oil or fuel oils.

Regulation summary

The Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928 (as amended by Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR)) requires that anyone operating a petrol filling station should have a licence issued by their local Petroleum Licensing Authority. The licence is renewed at regular intervals, currently annually. The requirement applies both to retail and non-retail filling stations ie those that dispense petrol to the general public and those which only dispense petrol into their own vehicles. Petrol filling stations are defined as sites that dispense petrol into vehicles, boats or aircraft by electrical or mechanical means.

The licences have conditions relating to safe storage, dispensing, maintenance, record-keeping etc. The requirements of DSEAR also apply.

Prior to the introduction of DSEAR, anyone storing significant amounts of petrol required a licence. However the requirement now applies only to operators of petrol filling stations and certain non-workplace situations.

Eligibility criteria

No provision in legislation.

Application process

Licence Application

An application to keep petroleum spirit must be made to the Petroleum Licensing Authority before petroleum spirit may be kept.

An application to renew a Petroleum Spirit Licence must be received by the Petroleum Licensing Authority before the existing licence expires.

Renewal of a Licence to Keep Petroleum Spirit

This licence must be issued to ensure that the licensing regime is continuous and that there is no break between the new and old licence.

Late Application

 A late application to renew a Petroleum Spirit Licence will not be treated as a renewal, and the new licence will not be concurrent with that as expired.

Petroleum spirit will have been kept during the unlicensed period.

Keeping of petroleum spirit without a Licence

It is an offence under the above Act and subject to prosecution.

The Petroleum Licensing Authority will treat each case on its own merit and may or may not decide to take further action.

The Licensing Authority as a measure of goodwill, will continue to send reminder letters as and when a licence is due for renewal. It should be noted however, that non receipt of a reminder letter for whatever reason, is not a defence against possible legal action for keeping petroleum spirit without a licence.  


The cost of licenses are set in statute every annually under the The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations.

How to apply

You can now apply for your licence online or can obtain an application form by contacting us using the details below:

Petroleum Licensing

Please note:It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact them using the details below.

Appeal process

Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

Where a person who is aggrieved by a decision of a local authority on an application for a petroleum-spirit licence appeals to the Secretary of State under section 44 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Secretary of State when he determines the appeal or a person who determines the appeal on his behalf under that section may, if he thinks fit, direct the Health and Safety Executive to grant the licence either without conditions or subject to such conditions as he thinks proper or to modify the conditions attached by the local authority, and any licence so granted or modified shall be in force for such time and be subject to such provisions as to renewal as may be specified in the licence and shall have effect as if granted by a local authority.

Complaints / objections

License holder redress Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

Consumer ComplaintWe would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Public registers

There is currently no public register on Petroleum Licences.

Further Information

 HSE Petroleum homepage

Contact Us

Food and Health and Safety Team
Public Health and Protection
Ty Elai
Dinas Isaf East
CF40 1NY

Tel: 01443 425001
01443 425301