Oil spill regulations in the UK are complicated. Unfortunately, each country within the union has slightly different rules when it comes to oil storage, and this absence of standardisation can lead to confusion, particularly for those companies that operate in more than one country within the UK.
While you should always check on the government websites for full and detailed regulations and changes to the rules, there are a few things that are more universal factors that you can look at to keep you on the right lines to stay compliant with UK oil spill regulations.
The Environment Agency has provided a 10-point checklist which you can use to get a good idea as to whether your site is compliant with regulations. Things like whether your storage containers are fit for purpose, and whether they are positioned in a safe place (away from water courses or other places that a spill may contaminate). It will also ask you to consider whether there is any secondary containment in place, which in the event of a spill, would stop the oil escaping.
You will be asked to consider how you handle waste, and whether it is compliant with the law in that area. You’ll need to know about the full life-cycle of your waste, including where it is disposed of when it leaves your site, and whether you are recycling it where possible. As well as the obvious environmental benefits, you will find that recycling can save your company money.
The drainage that you have onsite is often overlooked, but is critical when it comes to storing oil. The survey covers whether your drainage is up to date, and whether the clean water and the contaminated water are both drained away responsibly. These are absolutely critical when it comes to compliance with regulations.
Finally, you will need to consider whether you are fully prepared to deal with pollution emergencies – do you have a plan in place? Do you have the correct equipment to deal with it? Are your staff fully prepared for such a scenario?
If you aren’t confident that you are compliant in any of these areas, you will need to take action to find out what you can do to change that.
Despite the slight differences in regulation between the various countries within the UK, there are some guidelines that apply to the three main bodies: the Environment Agency (who cover England and Wales), SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) and NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency). There are four main sections to Pollution Incident Response Planning, which are particularly relevant to UK oil spill regulations – the four P’s:
- Prepare: can you identify the drainage systems, watercourse and groundwater that could be affected by a spill? This will save valuable time in locating the areas in urgent need of attention in the event of a spillage. Colour code your different drainage systems on your site plans (surface drains blue and foul sewers red) as emergency responders will understand this code.
- Plan: Have an Incident Response Plan in place at your site – if you run more than one site, make sure each plan is site specific. Make sure your plan includes contact details for someone in your business that can respond ‘out of hours’, details on how to clean up the spill (including safely removing harmful residues), and contact details for clean-up contractors, such as Ideal Response.
- Practice: your staff should be trained for the event of a spillage. The main things to consider are: what they should do, where the relevant personal protection equipment (PPE) is that they will require, where they can find a copy of the Incident Response Plan and crucially, that their health and safety is more important than stopping the spill.
- Pollution Control Equipment: Ensure that you are fully stocked with the appropriate equipment, so that you are not relying on external help in the event of a spill. Dealing with a spill on your site is your responsibility, and while there are services and support available, sometimes the wait of even a few hours can cause much more damage than is necessary, and end up costing you much more money.
If you are unfortunate enough to experience an oil spill, Ideal Response can help. We can be onsite within 2 hours of your call to contain and clean the oil spill, ensuring as little damage as possible is done to your property and the environment.
We are UK providers of Lubetech spill technology, which is both incredibly effective at cleaning up oil spills, but is also completely environmentally friendly, which will minimise the impact of your spill as much as possible. We are also licensed waste carriers, so we will be able to dispose of any harmful residue softly and responsibly.
Before, during and after the cleanup, we will take samples to conduct laboratory testing procedures – this will provide us with detailed analysis both of the impact of the spill, and the effectiveness of our work. There will not be any trace of oil in the area after we have completed our work.
Our team is on hand 24 hours a day to take your call, and with our Rapid Team Dispatch policy, we can help get your site back to full working order before too much damage is done. Get in touch with us now to find out how we can help you.
Have a look at our video and how Ideal Response deal with a Oil Spill making sure we obeyed by the UK Oil Spill Regulations.