We licence and inspect petrol filling stations (and other places that store and dispense petrol) to make sure the design and operation of the premises meets safety controls.
There's potential for accidents at all sites where petrol is stored and dispensed. As petrol is very hazardous and flammable, it’s extremely important that these sites have properly designed and constructed facilities which are used and looked after correctly.
Apply for a petroleum licence
To apply for a petroleum licence, you can download the application form and return it by post, along with the relevant documents and fees, to:
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street
Who needs a petroleum licence?
You must have a valid petroleum licence if you have premises where petroleum is stored and dispensed for resale, such as petrol stations or private sites.
If you aren't sure whether you need a licence please contact us.
Exemptions from petroleum licencing
You do not need a licence to store petroleum spirit or petroleum spirit mixtures in containers in your workplace. This is regulated under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 (DSEAR).
This legislation protects employees and premises against fire risks, explosion and other similar events which could arise from dangerous substances in the workplace.
Under DSEAR, workplaces must:
- carry out a risk assessment of any work activities which involve dangerous substances
- put measures in place to remove or reduce risks as far as reasonably possible
- provide equipment and procedures to deal with accidents and emergencies
- provide information and training for employees
- ‘zone’ explosive and mark them if necessary.
Employers and business owners are responsible for complying with the regulations.
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland is normally responsible for ensuring that industrial sites comply with DSEAR, while we monitor other sites, such as retail premises.
For more information, call the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland helpline on 0800 0320 121, or call into their information and advice centre at 88 Ladas Drive, Belfast, BT6 9FR or visit www.hseni.gov.uk
You can apply for:
- a new licence (or grant) to store and dispense petroleum spirit
- a renewal of an existing licence to store and dispense petroleum spirit
- a transfer of an existing licence to keep petroleum spirit.
If you're applying for a new licence, or want to renew an existing one, you must also tell us the maximum quantity of petrol you intend to store, as this determines the cost of your licence. There are three categories:
- up to 2,500 litres
- 2,500 and 50,000 litres
- more than 50,000 litres.
What documents do I need to apply?
Once you know the type of licence you need, you can apply online or fill in an application form and return it by post.
As part of the application process, you must supply us with a range of documents relating to your premises. If you are applying for a renewal or transfer of an existing licence,you must also supply the certificates listed below.
|Documents required for petroleum licensing applications
|Types of document
|| One year
|Fire appliance certificate
|| One year
It's your responsibility to submit all certificates we need. We only accept original certificates - faxes or photocopies will not be accepted. Certificates will be copied and the originals returned to you, if requested.
As well as the certificates listed above, applicants must also submit a completed petroleum licensing risk assessment.
For new licences, you must also submit four copies of the plans of your premises (at a scale of 1:100).
Hard copies can be sent by post to:
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street
How are applications processed?
We aim to issue your petroleum licence, if approved, within 42 calendar days of receiving your application.
We cannot issue the licence until any work that we require on your premises has been completed and you have provided all the documents we need.
During this time, our licensing surveyor will inspect your premises. We cannot progress your application or carry out an inspection until we receive four copies of the floor plans of your premises.
You should not store or dispense petroleum at your premises until we have issued a valid petroleum licence.
Repairs and maintenance
We may ask for remedial work to be undertaken at your premises to bring the site up to a suitable standard.
We use the Association for Petroleum & Explosives Administration (APEA)’s Guidance for the Design, Construction, Modification, Maintenance and Decommissioning of Filling Stations, as a guide for good practice and legal requirements (known as the Blue Book).
The APEA guide provides technical details for storing and dispensing petroleum products used as fuels for motor vehicles at public filling stations. It also includes information on minimising the fire and explosion risks. It is available for purchase at www.apea.org.uk/pages/publications/apea-publications.
If we refuse your application or impose terms, conditions or restrictions which you are not happy with, or if we revoke your licence, you have the right to appeal our decision.
You must appeal, in writing, to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) within ten days of receiving our decision (we will send you a certificate outlining the reasons behind it).
What happens when a licence is approved?
You should not store or dispense petroleum at your premises until a valid petroleum licence has been issued.
You should not consider your licence granted until you receive formal confirmation from us.
When we issue your licence, it is important that you, as the licensee, as well as everyone employed on your premises, comply with the conditions of the licence.
If you do not comply with the conditions of the licence, you can be fined up to £100 for each day you do not comply.
The occupier of licensed premises must display the petroleum licence and its conditions on the site, in a position where they can be easily read by employees. There is a penalty of up to £20 per day if this is not displayed, or to any person who pulls down or defaces the licence and its conditions.
All petroleum licences are granted for a period of up to 12 months and are subject to standard conditions. Applications for renewals should be submitted at least one month before your licence is due to expire.
The cost of a petroleum licences depends of the type of licence you are applying for and the amount of petroleum spirit to be stored. Please note that these fees are non-refundable, even if your application is refused.
|Type of licence
|| Quantity of petroleum
|| Fee (per year of licence)
|Grants (new licences) and renewals
|| Up to 2,500 litres
| 2,500 to 50,000 litres
| More than 50,000 litres
|| £8 (one-off fee)
Fees can be paid by cheque or postal or money order (made payable to Belfast City Council), or by credit and debit card using our online payment system.
If you have any queries or complaints about the licensing process, or to find out if a licence has been issued,
please contact us.