How you can help the Red Alert campaign

 

Extending the derogation is a complicated process, and it’s very hard to predict whether the Commission will decide in our favour. It’s therefore more important than ever for UK motorboaters to contact their elected representatives – in this case, MEPs – to make sure they understand the importance of this issue.

In its Budget report, the UK Government made a point of mentioning the “hundreds of private boat owners [who] have written to Ministers supporting retention of the derogation.” Lobbying really does work, and this is our big chance to make our voices heard by the decision makers of Europe.

It’s best for you to contact your MEP in your own words rather than stick to any prescribed format. Remember, your MEP is there to represent you, and as a boater you should be able to describe in your own words how the loss of red diesel could affect you. However, here are a few facts and figures you may wish to include in your letter:

4m people participate in boating and watersports on UK coastal waters and inland waterways [source: BMF/RYA/Sunsail research, 2004]

According to a survey of boaters in 2003/04, 54% said they ‘would or may’ give up boating if red diesel were lost. Of the motorboaters surveyed, 72% said they would or may give up.

The British marine industry contributes £2.2bn to the UK tourist industry, and £230m in tax revenue [source: BMF survey, 2005]

68,000 jobs in tourism are supported by the marine industry [source: as above]

Loss of red diesel would mean diesel vendors installing an extra pump for leisure boaters, as opposed to commercial traffic. 32% have said they would not do this, and would supply commercial boaters only [source: BMF survey, 2005]

Boater spend is estimated at £700m per year, which is estimated to fall to £550m if there is a decrease in participation and boat usage. Loss of tax revenue from this source is likely to be higher than the maximum £10m raised by taxing red diesel at a higher rate [source: BMF/RYA ‘Seeing Red’ briefing document]

The Government’s own summary and recommendation reads: “The Government believes that the balance of advantage lies with retaining the derogation. Its removal would cause market distortion and would have significant compliance costs for both the industry and the Government.” [source: ‘Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment for Hydrocarbon Oils Duty: Expiry of Derogation’, 22 March 2006]

The easiest way to contact your MEP is via www.writetothem.com . Just type in your postcode and the site will bring up a list of your representatives in Europe.