HM Revenue & Customs seeks opinions of boaters into what happens with red

We have arrived at a crucial stage in the eventual elimination of low-duty diesel for leisure boaters.

As mentioned below, it was announced late last year that we were to officially lose our right to low-duty red diesel.

The Government then applied, and got, an extension from the EU that allowed boaters to keep using low-duty red until November 2008.

Now the Government is deciding just what’s going to happen when that deadline expires.

HM Revenue & Customs has released a consultation document, in which it details three possibilities.

The first is to allow boaters to keep using red diesel, but make fuel vendors switch between higher and lower rates of duty at the pump, depending on whether it is a commercial or leisure vessel filling up

The second option is to allow boaters to keep using low-duty red diesel, but make them self-declare their tax burden at a later date.

The third option is to outlaw red diesel for leisure boat use entirely, and enforce a switch to white diesel.

None of the three options is ideal, as boaters will still be paying over £1 a litre for diesel, but in terms of least hassle for boaters, the only realistic option is A.

The second sounds great, but there is no way the Government will allow it, and says as much in the consultation document.

The third is “not a favoured option”, according to the same document, as it would mean boaters would have to clean their tanks of red diesel, and vendors supplying both commercial and leisure boats would have to install a separate tank for white diesel.

So we’re really only left with one option – keeping red and making the fuel vendor charge less of more depending on the boat filling up.

MBM encourages all boaters to respond to the consultation, which has a deadline of 31 October. You can see it here. The document also tells you how to respond.