UK Health and Safety Executive: consultation on COMAH draft regulations to implement Seveso II amendment

Published:  17 September, 2013

Heavy fuel oils to be re-categorised as ‘petroleum products’ rather than ‘dangerous to the environment' – will result in significant changes to qualifying inventories.

The draft regulations (for England, Scotland and Wales) will align COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations) regulations with Article 30 of Council Directive 2012/18/EU on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances, amending Council Directive 96/82/EC.

Qualifying inventories of HFO for lower tier and top tier sites will increase from 100 tonnes to 2,500 tonnes and from 200 tonnes to 25,000 tonnes respectively.

Also, the quantity at which planning requirements become applicable will increase from 100 tonnes to 2,500 tonnes. The draft regulations address planning requirements for England only, as the devolved administrations will make any necessary changes within their own planning regimes.

Seveso III

The new Seveso III Directive (2012/18/EU, Article 30) adds HFO to the ‘Petroleum products’ category, with significantly higher and more proportionate threshold quantities at 2,500 tonnes LT (lower tier) and 25,000 tonnes TT (top tier).

Most of Seveso III will be implemented in the UK by 1 June 2015, but Article 30 amends Seveso II and requires implementation by 15 February 2014. This follows recognition in Europe the DFE qualifying inventory thresholds under Seveso II are unreasonable and need to be rationalised.

HSE proposes implementing Article 30 by way of an amendment to COMAH. The Seveso Directive applies across the UK. Northern Ireland and Gibraltar will need to amend guidance and legislation as necessary.

The amendment is effectively an interim measure until the changed requirements of HFO are captured in COMAH 2015 which will be introduced on 1 June 2015 to implement Seveso III in full.

The consultation aims to find out; whether the proposed regulatory amendment ‘enables businesses to identify what they need to do’; whether stakeholders are happy with the proposed approach to handle Article 30 of Seveso III (i.e. by the proposed regulatory amendment to COMAH); as well as ascertain reactions to the initial assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed change.

The Consultation documents are available here.

Responses should be sent by 18 October 2013 to:

Karen Tollet

Health and Safety Executive

5.S.2 Redgrave Court

Merton Road


Merseyside L20 7HS

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