Well; the inevitable is happening, a source of information has informed me that the Government are looking into the possibilities of introducing legislation to prevent anyone making their own fuel. This has been sparked by the dramatic increase in incidents such as explosions while making bio diesel, and mixing or blending various other components to diesel to make it go further. Representations from the HSE, fire brigades, and insurers are the catalyst for the proposals to introduce this legislation.
HSE representations centre around the explosions and the toxic nature of many of the chemicals used, as well as the conditions in which most of this fuel is manufactured. These are cited as wooden garden sheds, garages, and on occasions, residential dwellings. Legislation is in place as regards the nature of many volatile or corrosive substances in residential or private properties, as well as many local bye laws limiting the amount of fuel which may be stored in anything other than vehicles or approved storage tanks.
Fire brigades are citing the risks to their firemen from the risk of primary explosions, secondary explosions such as gas mains rupturing, and the toxic fumes emitted from many of the chemicals used in the various processes. Further issues surround the structural damage to the manufacturers, and adjacent properties to the manufacturing site.
Insurers are quoting local bye laws, contractual conditions of their insurance policies, and potential environmental issues such as cleaning up the chemical spills. Company liability insurance covers these areas for businesses, but not for residential properties, so they are saying seperate insurance needs to be taken out to cover these risks.
Insurers have to date managed to wriggle out of paying for damage for these explosions, and damage to other properties, so the precedent has been set. Legally and contractually they are on solid ground.
Initial suggestions are that manufacturers of such fuels in domestic dwellings will be prohibited from manufacturing any kind of fuel, this includes the mixing of the various oils with diesel fuel. Home manufacturers will have to conform to strict standards similar to commercial manufacturers, and also be licensed; and will only be allowed to utilise approved equipment such as the fuel pod, or other such commercially manufactured refining equipment. These will have to be approved, and no doubt licencesed, following testing and approval from the Government.
Storage of fuel will be limited to 25 litres in an approved portable fuel container, or be stored in an approved and fully bunded and licensed fuel tanks.
Although it is in the very early stages, it is something which we cannot ignore.