MBM has written to every UK MEP to ask them what they are doing to save red diesel for leisure boaters

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On Friday 24 November, MBM wrote to every MEP in the UK, explaining once again the seriousness of the current situation, and asking them to tell us what actions they had taken to support boaters.

A decision on red diesel is expected early in 2007, making this a crucial time to make our voices heard.

Watch this space, where we’ll print details of every MEP’s reply. You’ll be able to see how your MEPs are representing you in Europe, and you’ll know where and how to channel your efforts.

The full letter reads as follows:

I’m writing to you in regards to the UK’s derogation from the EU Energy Products Directive that allows the use in private pleasure boats of rebated gas oil, or ‘red diesel’.

As you are doubtless aware, the UK Government submitted a formal application for the extension of this derogation in mid October.

Motor Boats Monthly has been campaigning since 2003 to see this derogation extended, and is the voice of the tens of thousands of pleasure boaters in the UK who cannot afford to see this derogation lapse. Figures from the RYA suggest that 54% of boaters could be forced out of the hobby because they simply cannot afford it.

Crucially, this issue does not just affect boaters, but the welfare of waterside communities and skilled workers up and down the country. The British marine industry contributes £2.2bn to the UK tourist industry, and £230m in tax revenue. It supports 68,000 jobs in tourism here in the UK. Why put this British success story in jeopardy?

Perhaps worst of all, the net effect of this increased taxation would be a loss to the UK economy. Boater spend is estimated at £700m per year, which it is believed would 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.

Please take this opportunity to convey to Motor Boats Monthly’s readership that you understand the importance of this crucial issue, and please let us know what you will be doing to support the UK economy in this instance. A decision is expected before the end of 2006, and we urgently require your help to save our sport.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Collis

Editor, Motor Boats Monthly
Motor Boats Monthly