Fuel giants BP have said they intend to store petrol back at Buncefield as early as March.
The company is planning to reinstate storage tanks for ‘grounds fuel’ at its terminal at Buncefield.
BPs terminal was one of those damaged by the explosion at a neighbouring terminal at the site back in 2005, but the move back to petrol is a controversial one for nearby neighbours.
The firm has handed out information leaflets to local residents explaining the proposed plans, saying it will tackle “ongoing pressure on fuel suppliers to ensure there is enough fuel at petrol stations to meet the needs of motorists.”
The 2005 explosion was caused by a vapour cloud of fuel after a tank was overfilled, and BP have moved to ease safety concerns, and have submitted a planning application for the proposed safety updates.
These include extra devices to measure fuel levels in the tanks, pipes to redirect any excess fuel to a ‘safe, contained area’ and foam blanket facilities that can cover the ground to help prevent any fires.
A BP spokesman told the Gazette: “We have not yet received planning permission and are currently only storing jet fuel on the site.
“The earliest we anticipate having gasoline at the Hemel Hempstead Terminal is March 2018.”
But the move has angered Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning, who was “not happy at all” with the proposals.
He said: “I do think all relevant organisations should be kept in the loop.
“I have written to BP Oil UK and the British Pipeline Agency to ask exactly what is going to be stored on this site.
“They call it ‘Ground Fuel’ which can include diesel, so I am asking exactly what percentage will be petrol.
“Previous planning applications have listed specific safety conditions before grounds fuel can be stored on this site and I want to be sure all these conditions have been met.
“We must never forget that it was petrol that caused this disaster.”
BP added that the changes would see an ‘increase’ in the amount of tanker activity at the site, but that it would still be less than it was in 2005.