Consultation on changes to the certification and testing of petrol vapour recovery equipment

Consultation opened on 01 February 2016. Closing date 28 March 2016.


The Department is leading a consultation on amending the Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 to require the equipment used for Stage II Petrol Vapour Recovery to be certified and tested according to certain CEN standards


Consultation description

Who does it affect?

It affects petrol station operators, and the district councils who regulate them.  Currently only the larger petrol stations require Stage II PVR (about 30 out of the 210 in NI). However most petrol stations are required to install PVRII if they undergo a substantial upgrade to their equipment, and some stations (selling more than 3 million litres/yr) are required to install PVRII by 2019.

What is Petrol Vapour Recovery (PVR)?

Empty petrol tanks are still full of petrol vapour. When the tanks are refilled this vapour is forced out of the tanks by the liquid petrol. Petrol Vapour Recovery (PVR) is where this vapour is prevented from escaping into the atmosphere (usually by being vented to wherever the petrol that is filling the tank comes from).

  • Stage I PVR is where the petrol vapour displaced from underground tanks at petrol stations, is vented back into the petrol tanker lorries that are filling the underground tanks.
  • Stage II PVR is where the petrol vapour from vehicle petrol tanks is vented back to the petrol station’s underground tanks.

Why do we care about recovering the patrol vapour?

Petrol Vapour contains Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can react with other pollutants to give rise to low-level ozone. These air pollutants can affect a wide range of people and negatively impact on vegetation and ecosystems. In addition, petrol vapour contains hydrocarbons that are known to be carcinogenic (e.g. Benzene).

How does this affect service stations in NI?

As the new EU CEN standards (EN 16321-1:2013 and EN 16321-2:2013) are based on the old German standards (VDI 2405) currently used in Northern Ireland there are no costs foreseen for service stations in NI.

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