The unmanned operation of petrol filling stations is growing across the UK, sometimes because it is the only feasible way for vehicle fuel to be accessible in remote areas. But also where companies have evaluated the cost of installing and monitoring technical solutions against the ever-rising cost of employing personnel and decided that the outlay is worthwhile.

The Petroleum Enforcement Liaison Group (PELG) has just finished revising the guidance within its Red Guide to encompass new categories of unmanned operation and the control measures that are appropriate. The Red Guide and other PELG guidance are free to download from:

Meanwhile, members of the PELG have been asked to meet a delegation from Japan to discuss the UK approach to the operation of unmanned petrol filling stations.

The delegation consists of operators of petrol stations across Japan. They are on a fact-finding mission, and afterwards they hope to be able to convince the Japanese government to lift its ban on unmanned sites.

I mentioned in a previous article that there are several companies that, via an app, will visit the location of a vehicle within London and fill it with diesel.

The viability of this business model is often dependent on filling several vehicles in one location, such as filling delivery vans while they are parked in a yard overnight.

The question of the safety and legality of the same model being operated for the mobile refuelling of petrol vehicles is yet to be resolved.

The Health and Safety Executive, as well as seeking a legal opinion, is looking for the industry to set a standard. With such a small niche industry, I believe that they will find this difficult to achieve.

If the companies decide to diversify into delivering petrol, to be compliant the delivery vehicles will be fitted with containers/tanks. Subject to a co-ordinated risk assessment and suitable control measures, the containers/tanks may be filled at a petrol forecourt. Whether this is the intention of the companies, I have yet to ascertain.