The Government has announced it is "minded" to take on the fight to save red diesel for leisureboaters.

The Government has announced it is “minded” to take on the fight to save red diesel for leisureboaters.

The decision, announced moments ago in the Pre-Budget Report, means ministers now look likely to take the matter to the European Union, which has the final say on red diesel’s future.

Leisureboaters could be banned from using the low-duty fuel by the end of 2006.

Today’s decision is a triumph for MBM’s two-year Red Alert campaign, which has sought to highlight the catastrophic and widespread effects of a possible 200% rise in the price of red diesel.

Research by the Royal Yachting Association, British Marine Federation and Inland Waterways Association shows losing the UK’s current permission to use red diesel would force many owners of motorboating altogether.

There are also environmental and safety fears, set out in our campaign pages at www.mbmclub.com/redalert

With the first stage of our campaign secured, MBM will not be giving up the fight.
Editor Simon Collis said: “Despite its cautious wording, this is a step forward for UK boaters, and the UK marine industry as a whole. Here at MBM we’re delighted that the Government has listened to our arguments, and we look forward to helping the treasury with its upcoming information gathering and discussion.”

MBM news editor Rob Peake added: “Congratulations to all our readers who lobbied their MPs over this. It seems the Government has listened to our advice.”

The Government’s statement reads: “The UK has a number of exemptions from the Energy Products Directive that enable duty to be charged at a reduced rate on oils where they are put to certain uses. These exemptions are due to expire at the end of 2006.

“While more information will be required to inform the case the UK makes to the European Commission, the Government is minded to apply for an extension of the derogations for fuel used in private air and pleasure craft navigation, liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas (NG) used as motor fuel, and waste oils reused as fuel.

“The Government will issue an initial regulatory impact assessment on the effects of ending the derogation for private pleasure craft early next year. This document will then be used as the basis for further information gathering and discussions.”

Watch this website for the RYA’s response later today.