11 September 2019

Our submission to the “HMRC Consultation on the Implementation of the Court of Justice of the European Union judgment on diesel fuel used in private pleasure craft” outlines a number of problems which will arise as a result of the implementation of the ruling. The key concern is that boatyards on the UK’s inland waterways, most of which currently only sell red diesel, will be faced with the choice of either installing an additional tank to supply white diesel, or changing from supply of red diesel to white diesel. It is likely that the majority of boatyards and marinas would continue to sell only red diesel, particularly those that operate a hire boat fleet or have residential moorings. Consequently, owners of privately owned pleasure craft needing to refuel their boats with white diesel will struggle to find a boatyard that sells it. The likely use of portable fuel cans or generators would present significant safety and environmental risks arising from the inevitable spillages and the use of generators in confined spaces and in urban areas.

We have asked HMRC to mitigate these problems by:

  • Continuing with the current arrangements, which were reached after a significant period of consultation and discussions in 2008, until the situation regarding the UK’s membership of the European Union is clearer
  • Adopting the longest possible transition time to implement the ruling to allow sufficient time (including raising finance) for boatyards to install new or convert existing tanks, and for boaters to undertake any necessary modifications to their vessels.
  • Providing written confirmation that HMRC will allow existing red dye in fuel tanks to fade naturally, and to allow time for existing stocks of red diesel purchased prior to any change to be used up without having to waste and dispose of any dyed fuel.

Read our full HMRC Red Diesel Consultation Response (pdf, 469KB)