Red diesel: consultation open

Your chance to give your views

The Government’s public consultation on red diesel has been published and the boating authorities say it “holds out hope” for leisure boaters.

The marine industry’s hope is that red diesel remains available, although at a higher rate of duty, saving the cost of changing the fuel infrastructure and tanks on boats.

HM Revenue and Customs’ consultation is entitled ‘Energy Products Directive – expiry of the derogation for private pleasure boats’.

The consultation is in response to a controversial EC decision last year abolishing the current reduced rate of duty payable on waterside red diesel.

Following extensive representations by the British Marine Federation and the RYA, along with the Inland Waterways Association and the Federation of Petroleum Supplies, the Government has indicated that its preferred option is to continue to allow leisure boat users to use red diesel while paying the full rate of duty.

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This would mean that suppliers could continue to use the current infrastructure and users would not have to change or add tanks on their boats. The added costs of providing new equipment threatened the profitability of fuel providers and would dramatically reduce the availability of fuel to leisure boaters.

The consultation, which also includes other options currently not preferred by the Government, is open to all members of the public and will run until 31 October 2007.

The easiest way to read and respond to the consultation is online at 

When the changes were announced, ministers said that they would look for ways of implementing the new regime which would both minimise the impact, and ensure that any additional compliance burden was as small as possible.

Neil Northmore, RYA Government Affairs Adviser said: “The options laid out in the consultation paper certainly do seem to focus on minimising the impact. We are pleased that both recreational boater’s concern’s and those of the marine industry have been heard and incorporated. It is evident that HMRC have worked hard to develop options that could work for all concerned”.

Howard Pridding, BMF Executive Director said: “The BMF and RYA have been pressing officials to minimise the impact of the fuel duty changes and we are pleased to see that this has been taken on board. We will now be consulting with our members to gauge their views on the best way forward to ensure that the details of any scheme are right for boaters and the marine industry. We would encourage all interested parties to read the consultation and then feed their views into us and also the HMRC.”


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