Licensing update

Licensing update

Don’t run the risk of adding fuel to the fire! – As a filling station owner, it is important to ensure compliance with your legal obligations where licensing is concerned.

Owners of filling stations are required by law to be licensed.  The primary legislation is the Dangerous Substances Act 1972 (as amended).  Legal obligations relate both to the dispensing of petroleum but also to its’ storage and apply to both retail petroleum filling stations as well as to commercial and private petroleum stores, provided they exceed the minimum threshold of petroleum stored for private use.  Classified as a dangerous substance it is critically important that where petroleum is concerned, that legal requirements are met.

Where to apply for a licence?

Applications are made to the local authority in your area. Applicants are required to submit a variety of documentation including maps and plans.  Often conditions attach to a licence when granted which can be quite onerous on new and existing businesses sometimes requiring major site works.

Can I appeal the refusal of a licence or the imposition of certain conditions?

Appeals can be made to the Health and Safety Authority within 14 days of the decision. Detailed submissions are required.  If the appellant is then further dissatisfied with the decision of the Health and Safety Authority, there is a further right of appeal to the High Court.

What is the duration of a licence?

Each licence lasts for a maximum of 3 years.  Applications for renewals should not be made less than 3 months from the expiry of the existing licence.


Special requirements are imposed in relation to deliveries of fuel.  However, a certificate of exemption is required where deliveries are placed under the control of the fuel tanker driver instead.

Site works and development

Before carrying out any works or development on site the requisite planning permission should to be sought and the written permission of the local authority from whom the licence was obtained.

Dangerous Substance Regulations (the “Regulations”)

The Regulations are available on .  If you are the owner/operator of a filling station you should familiarise yourself with obligations under the Regulations which are placed not just on a licensee but their employees.

Breach of the legislation

A breach of the legislation is a criminal offence resulting in imprisonment or a fine.

For further information on the above please contact Niamh Gibney at

Niamh Gibney
Author: Niamh Gibney