Hounslow CouncilUnderground diesel storage tanks at the London Borough of Hounslow’s main transport depot facilities have been decommissioned. The work included the installation of a new 60K litres capacity replacement tank. This was supplied by MIS Fuel Monitoring in conjunction with Oil Tank Supplies as a fully operational unit, incorporating single compartment bunded tank, two diesel dispensers and the associated low level/fill alarms and electronics monitoring instrumentation, housed within the services cabinet.

Outlining the project, Hounslow’s head of vehicle fleet management, Rod Willis said, “This upgrade was needed to bring our diesel storage facilities into line with current regulations for the protection of the environment. The new tank provides additional capacity to meet on-going and future operational requirements.”

“The old tanks have been emptied and filled with foam. The area – close to the main gate was then resurfaced and a concrete base laid for the installation of the new tank. This was effectively a self-contained filling station – delivered off the back of a truck and commissioned within a matter of days.”

Fuel is a one of the major consumable costs for the council and it relates to the growth in services. The fleet comprises 230 vehicles, mostly general purpose utility pick-ups, small vans and a couple of cars and about 80 minibuses. Overall the fleet gets through around 30K litres of diesel a month, so this needs to be managed very carefully.

“Essentially this project has brought our fuel management facilities into the 21st century.”

Rod Willis, Hounslow Council’s Head of Fleet Management.

The new tank complements an existing 35K litres capacity tank located within the area set aside for parking contractors’ waste and recycling vehicles. Having two fuelling points allows greater flexibility and minimal vehicle movements on the site to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

“This additional storage gives us the extra reserves we need to ensure that customer services can be continued, should we have any disruption to supplies. It is easier to plan future needs and because we have fully compliant resale standard dispensers, we can enter into fuelling arrangements with our various PFI service partners.”

“It is reassuring then that this investment maintains this continuity. Indeed we have further enhanced the installation by integrating both fuelling points into our central computer network. This provides our administration staff with up to the minute status on current stock levels, thus allowing them to make better informed decisions when reordering.”

“Merridale fuel monitoring software has been used for stock control and fuel usage reporting, since it was introduced ten years ago. This effectively makes our user departments accountable for their fuel budgets, and it has now become part of our standard office procedures.”

“It is reassuring then that this investment maintains this continuity. Indeed we have further enhanced the installation by integrating both fuelling points into our central computer network. This provides our administration staff with up to the minute status on current stock levels, thus allowing them to make better informed decisions when reordering.”

“This overall visibility is also an important security measure. My staff and I will quickly pick up on any anomalies and take appropriate action to investigate this further – whether this is loss of stock at the tank or excessive consumption recorded by any of the fleet vehicles.”

Operational requirements are also changing as the council reviews its service delivery arrangements. A PFI service agreement is currently being set up to cover the Highways, Street Cleansing and Drainage. In most of these cases to service provider will continue to make use of the depot fuelling facilities.

“It is important therefore to use high specification dispensers which will meet the requirements of trading standards for resale and invoicing. Merridale pumps set the standard as far as we are concerned,” says Rod Willis.

Looking ahead we may consider installing a separate tank for gas oil for plant and machines but this is on hold pending the appointment of the new PFI service partner.

Essentially this project has brought our fuel management facilities into the 21st century. The only afterthought was the provision of hose reels. We are using long hoses to allow better flexibility but these can also get in the way. We have ordered reels to be fitted to help keep the fuelling point clear and they also make life easier for the yard staff when shutting up the cabinet.