#RedDiesel - The British Marine Federation (BMF) says it will continue to support the use of red diesel by pleasure boaters after last week's decision by the European Commission to refer the UK to the European Courts of Justice over use of the fuel.
Red-dyed agricultural diesel – like Ireland's green-dyed variety – is used by farmers and agricultural fishermen throughout the UK at a lower rate of duty and is also widely used by leisure craft owners, who have been required to pay the full rate of tax for a number of years.
The BMF says it has worked closely with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) on the issue for many years, "working alongside the UK Government to successfully facilitate the continued use of red diesel by leisure boaters, whilst paying an appropriate level of duty."
However, two years ago the EU began a crackdown on the use of dyed diesel outside of the agricultural context, threatening to levy fines against British boats round to be using red diesel in the waters of other EU states.
This is despite arguments from the British marine industry that unmarked or 'white' diesel is not widely available in UK ports.
Commenting on this latest development, BMF chief executive Howard Pridding said: “Government officials have always understood the impact for the industry and the boating market that would arise if leisure boaters were no longer permitted to use red diesel.
"We have been in close contact with HMRC officials since the Commission’s announcement and they have indicated to us that the UK Government intends to continue to contest the infringement proceedings. Our members very much welcome their understanding of the issues and ongoing support."
The BMF adds that it will maintain regular contact with Westminster officials on the issue and assist in providing robust evidence with which the UK can make its case.