London Fire Brigade


Petroleum licensing

As well as enforcing fire regulations, we are also the licensing authority for the storage of petroleum in London to make sure those keeping and dispensing petrol do so in a safe manner which is unlikely to cause risk to the public or environment.

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.

A licence will allow you to keep an approved quantity of petroleum. It is an offence to keep an amount in excess of this, as is failing to comply with any of the licence conditions, or, keeping licensable quantities without a licence.

For advice on domestic storage of petroleum based products, go to our area on domestic storage. If you are storing petroleum for commercial or retail purposes and do not have a licence, contact petroleum telephone enquiries on 020 8555 1200 ext. 30859 or email at

Domestic storage

Petrol is a highly flammable, explosive and toxic substance. There are laws you must obey and rules you need to follow if you are storing it.

It's against the law to store more than 20 litres (4 gallons) of petrol in two 10 litre (2 gallon) metal containers, and 10 litres (2 gallons) in two 5 litre (1 gallon) plastic containers. All containers must be designed for the purpose and they must be marked petroleum and highly flammable.

Apart from what's in the fuel tank, you can only transport petrol in securely closed containers designed for the purpose and marked petroleum and highly flammable. Make sure they are secured in the boot when being transported.

Filling your tank from a container should only be carried out in the open air.

Store any containers in a garage or shed away from any other buildings. Don't keep it in the house. Make sure the area is well ventilated and away from any naked flame or live electrical equipment.

Check containers regularly for leaks. If you smell petrol fumes, ventilate the area and make sure nobody smokes or turns electrical switches on or off. The slightest spark could cause an explosion.

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