One of the services the Petrol Retailers Association offers to its members is that of conciliation between themselves and their suppliers particularly fuel ones. Our help is sought a number of times each year, most often when cross-overs have occurred (petrol into a diesel tank or vice versa), during a delivery to a site. All cases to date have and are most likely to involve driver- assisted deliveries, and have been resolved to the satisfaction of our members.

A cross-over can have extremely serious consequences to a business. Not only is there the disruption caused by the need to uplift the contaminated fuel and recharge the tank. There is also the loss of business and impact on shop sales during the remedial action; plus, if contaminated fuel is sold to customers, there is both the financial and reputational cost to the business.

The first piece of evidence that we seek when considering the case is the delivery documentation. This led us to the conclusion that very often the site operator is being asked/cajoled into taking responsibilities over and above what is recommended in the Approved Code of Practice (L133 Petrol filling stations Road tanker deliveries Unloading petrol from road tankers). This has muddied the waters about blame for cross-overs.

Having come to this realisation, Phil Monger, PRA technical director, began engaging with the parties concerned. Eventually he received agreement from all concerned to draft guidance that supplements the ACoP and includes a standardised delivery form.

Forecourt operators should now ensure that they are not signing any documentation that indicates they have seen the tanker hoses connected to the tanks, because that is the sole responsibility of the tanker driver. However, they should be complying with their duties in L133 to prevent anything on the forecourt compromising the safety of the delivery. Plus, tanker drivers now have the same format of form to use for all companies for which they are making deliveries. The guidance has been agreed by the Petroleum Enforcement Liaison Group, and will be available shortly via their web page hosted on the Energy Institute website.