Petroleum Vapour Emissions Regulations Enforcement

Local authorities regulate emissions from fuel tankers, storage tanks and fuel pumps in petrol stations.

Petroleum Vapour Emissions Regulations

If you are a Petrol Station owner/operator you are obliged to ensure that your facility is designed and operated in accordance with the following regulations:

Air Pollution Act, 1987 (Petroleum Vapour Emissions) Regulations, 1997 

European Union (Stage II Petrol Vapour Recovery during Refuelling of Motor Vehicles at Service Stations) Regulations 2011

The objective of these regulations is to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere from vehicle re-fuelling activities at service stations, in order to reduce the adverse impact of VOCs on human health and the environment.

Petrol contains VOCs, carbon-based chemicals that evaporate readily into the atmosphere. Once emitted to air, VOCs are associated with several health and environmental problems.

Air Pollution Act 1987 (Petroleum Vapour Emissions) Regulations 1997

  • These Regulations refer to VOC emissions from Stage I activities, i.e., storage of petrol at terminals and service stations, loading and unloading at terminals, and unloading at service stations.
  • This legislation details standards that must be in place to prevent vapour losses to atmosphere during the delivery of petrol to service stations (vapour displaced during delivery must be returned through a vapour tight connection line to the road tanker delivering the petrol).
  • However, the EU Directive which gave rise to the Petroleum Vapour Emissions Regulations 1997 includes an exemption for petrol filling stations which have a throughput of less than 100m3 per year (100,000 litres per year).
  • Service station operators are required to engage an independent approved assessor (details below) to inspect and test facilities to ensure that: Vapours displaced by the delivery of petrol into storage installations at terminals and into storage tanks at service stations and in fixed roof tanks used for the intermediate storage of vapours are returned through a vapour-tight connection line to the mobile container delivering the petrol.
  • The service station operator is required to submit the approved assessor’s report to the Local Authority with an application fee of €63.50.
  • The Local Authority approves or rejects the report and issues a Certificate of Testing. This is required every 3 years.

European Union (Stage II Petrol Vapour Recovery during Refuelling of Motor Vehicles at Service Stations) Regulations, 2011

  • Under these regulations fuelling of motor vehicle operations may not take place unless arrangements are in place for the vapour displaced by the delivery of petrol to vehicles to be returned through a vapour-tight connection line to the storage tank.
  • However, the EU Directive which gave rise to the European Union (Stage II Petrol Vapour Recovery during refuelling of motor vehicles at service stations) Regulations 2011 includes exemptions and deadlines. The following applies:
  1. New service stations (built, licensed or granted planning permission after 1 Jan 2012) must be equipped with PVR II systems if throughput is >100m3 or >500 m3 (depending on proximity to living quarters).
  2. Existing services stations must install PVR II systems when undergoing major refurbishment (thresholds apply).
  3. In addition, the regulations require the owner of a service station with a throughput in excess of 3,000 m3/year (3,000,000 litres) to install PRV II technology by no later than 31 December 2018.
  • Service station operators must apply to the Local Authority for a Certificate of Installation after installing the PVRII system and thereafter arrange for periodic testing by an approved assessor. The report issued by the approved assessor must then be submitted to Carlow County Council (along with the fee of €63.50) in application for a Certificate of Testing.

A copy of the Certificate of Testing / Installation must be kept available for inspection at the relevant service station.

For further queries on the Petroleum Vapour Emissions Regs contact:

Carlow County Council, Environment Section Assembly Rooms, Cox’s Lane, Carlow, Co. Carlow.

Any enquiries can be made directly to the Environment Section by:

Phone: 059 9136231