Environmental insurance—petrol stations
Produced in partnership with EDIA Environmental Insurance
Environmental insurance—petrol stations

The following Environment guidance note Produced in partnership with EDIA Environmental Insurance provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Environmental insurance—petrol stations
  • Petrol stations in the UK
  • Potential environmental liabilities associated with petrol stations
  • Legislation that applies to environmental damage caused by petrol stations
  • Insurance for environmental damage caused by petrol stations
  • Coverage for pollution
  • Considerations for the purchase and sale of operational petrol stations
  • Considerations when dealing with closed petrol stations
  • The investigation of forecourts and USTs
  • Information requirements to allow an insurance quote to be obtained
  • more

Petrol stations in the UK

From a peak of 39,958 in the late 1960s, there are now around 8,400 petrol forecourts in the UK.

When considering any environmental liability associated with petrol stations, consideration should be given to those locations that are:

  1. operational forecourts

  2. forecourts due to close and be redeveloped, and

  3. closed forecourts that were redeveloped in the past

Given their location (often) in town centres, redevelopment is often completed for residential end use.

Although forecourts sell fuel from the oil majors, the businesses themselves are owned by smaller entities. The improvement in land value associated with redevelopment has driven the closure of many petrol stations, especially as small businesses operating them have found it hard to remain profitable.

Potential environmental liabilities associated with petrol stations

Petrol stations have the potential to cause environmental damage from:

  1. the leakage of fuel from underground storage tanks (USTs) and the associated pipeline system to the pumps

  2. leakage from drainage systems, surface run off of spills or the poor performance of drainage interceptors, and

  3. vapours from loading of fuel tanks—in 2004 a study concluded that there was a quadrupled incidence of leukemia in children living near petrol stations

USTs are of particular concern to the environment, for the following reasons:

  1. as they are located underground and made of metal, they are subject to corrosion

  2. many