Legal warning on petrol hoards

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IF you are storing petrol after last week’s panic, make sure it is legal.

Suffolk Trading Standards and Fire Service have jointly clarified the regulations for storing petrol at home. They say it can be kept in a domestic garage or outbuilding, but there are restrictions on the amount that can be stored.

The only permitted combinations of two approved containers are one suitable 10 litre metal container and one five litre approved plastic container (totalling 15 litres), or two five litre approved plastic containers (only 10 litres can be kept if plastic containers are used)

The containers used must be robust, marked with their contents and have tight fitting lids to prevent leakage of liquid or vapour. Plastic ones must comply with petroleum spirit container regulations.

They must also be stored securely – ideally they should be locked up and kept away from any combustible material. Under no circumstances should petrol be stored inside the home.

Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for public protection said: “We strongly advise against the bulk buying and storage of petrol. It is an incredibly dangerous substance.

“Petrol vapour is invisible and leakages can travel significant distances to find a source of ignition. We are advising people to conserve current fuel stocks by avoiding unnecessary journeys.”

Petrol vapour is also heavier than air so even a small amount can form an explosively flammable ‘puddle’ over a large area.

There are no restrictions on storing diesel because it does not easily ignite but the council suggests sticking to the rules for petrol to reduce the risk of fumes and of pollution from leaks.