Government to challenge Europe over red diesel

RYA and BMF welcome decision by HMRC to push back against Brussels' attempts to deny boaters marked fuel

HM Revenue & Customs
will challenge the European Commission (EC) over its recent request that the UK change its laws to deny leisure boaters access to red diesel.

The EC issued its ‘reasoned opinion’ in May, asking the UK to amend its legislation “to ensure that private pleasure boats such as luxury yachts can no longer buy lower taxed fuel intended for fishing boats.”

UK boaters lost the right to fill up with 100% low-duty diesel in 2008. Since then a compromise deal has been in place, whereby boaters pay full duty on the 60% of their fuel tank used for propulsion and a lower rate of duty on the 40% of their tank used for heating and other ‘domestic’ uses.

Such a deal was necessary since the enforced switch to white diesel for leisure boaters would have forced many vendors to install a second tank or stop supplying leisure boaters entirely, putting sections of the coast out of reach to recreational boaters.

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But Europe has never been completely happy with this and started infringement proceedings against the UK in 2011, the next stage of which appears to be this latest move by the EC.

The RYA and BMF welcomed the government’s decision to push back against Brussels, saying: “The UK government has for several years supported recreational boating and the industry that serves it… and we are pleased that the Government has decided that it should challenge the Commission’s reasoned opinion.”

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