Yachtsmen must declare it will only be used in the UK

From 1 April each time a yachtsman buys red diesel he/she must declare that the fuel will only be used in UK waters.

British sailors with tax-reduced dyed diesel in their tanks have previously been hit with on-the-spot fines of up to £750 in Belgium and the Belgian Embassy (see PBO February 2012) has told PBO reader Bob Calver that the country will continue this practice.

Belgium believes that ‘EU legislation clearly does not allow the use of dyed diesel for leisure vessels and member states have to conform to this’, although the British and Irish governments disagree.

Only the European Court of Justice has the power to decide who is right in this matter and the commission has already referred the matter to that court, although it could be several months before an outcome is reached.

Yesterday the economic secretary to the Treasury, Chloe Smith, explained that changes would be made ‘following a challenge by the European Commission to the UK practice of allowing marked red diesel with the full duty paid to be used in this way’, while ‘maintaining that it was contrary to EU legislation on the marking of fuels.’

Ms Smith said: ‘The changes ensure that red diesel can continue to be used as fuel for propelling private pleasure craft in UK coastal waters and on the inland waterways in accordance with current procedures.’

Before 11 March you can tell HM Revenue & Customs what you think of the new legislation by emailing envirotax.bst or by post to Transport Taxes Team, HM Revenue & Customs, Room 1/37, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ.

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