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RYA Northern Ireland Seek Further Clarity on Red Diesel Withdrawal from Recreational Boaters

16th March 2021
the Cruising Association has said no white diesel supply exists in Northern Ireland
White diesel is not available in Northern Ireland

The Royal Yachting Association of Northern Ireland (RYA Northern Ireland), together with British Marine and the Cruising Association, met yesterday with representatives from HM Revenue and Customs and HM Treasury to discuss the difficulties for private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland resulting from the decision to withdraw the use of red diesel.

Recreational boaters and the marine industry urgently need clarity surrounding the Government's plans for implementation and how it intends to address the practical difficulties before June.

As Afloat reported earlier, the Cruising Association has said no white diesel supply exists in Northern Ireland leaving boaters without options later this summer

The discussions took place against the background of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and in particular Article 8 concerning Union VAT and excise law that applies to Northern Ireland.

To achieve consistency with the 2018 judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union and to ensure that the UK meets its international obligations under the Protocol, private pleasure craft users in Northern Ireland will no longer be able to use red diesel for propelling their craft.

It is proposed that this change will take effect by June this year. The RYA has stressed the difficulties presented by this short timescale and requested a longer period to address the white diesel supply issues that the decision presents. Once implemented, private pleasure craft users in Northern Ireland will have to use white diesel for propulsion instead of red diesel.

Private pleasure craft users in Northern Ireland with only one fuel tank on board for propulsion and non-propulsion will not have to pay a higher rate of duty on their non-propulsion use of diesel than they would otherwise have to pay. The Government are intending to introduce a new relief scheme in Northern Ireland which will become effective from the date that users become obliged to use white diesel.

The RYA is concerned that the volume of sales of diesel to private pleasure craft is not great enough for suppliers to justify the expense of providing a second pump at the waterside, which is going to cause significant supply problems.

HMRC have confirmed that once the change does take effect, it would be illegal to buy red diesel for private pleasure craft propulsion in Northern Ireland, but fuel already present in tanks could be used without penalty. Private pleasure craft from Northern Ireland that fill up in Great Britain (GB) in future could do so under the Istanbul Convention which will allow red diesel legitimately purchased in GB to be taken back to Northern Ireland in the main fuel tanks of a boat.

The RYA recommends that recreational boaters with marked 'red' diesel purchased in GB:

  • Keep receipts for diesel purchased in GB, to prove that it was bought in the GB, and request that your retailer marks them "duty paid."
  • Log the date of refuelling and engine hours to reinforce these records; and
  • Do not carry marked diesel anywhere other than in their craft's main fuel storage tanks.

Chief Operating Officer of RYA Northern Ireland, Richard Honeyford, commented: "RYA Northern Ireland welcomes that there will be a new duty relief scheme in place to help avoid disproportionately penalising Northern Ireland boaters and details of this scheme are to follow.

"We also welcome a number of clarifications from HMRC and look forward to continuing to work closely with RYA, HM Treasury and HMRC to ensure that boaters in Northern Ireland are clear on all guidance. RYA Northern Ireland will continue to update its members as and when further information is available."

Howard Pridding, RYA Director of External Affairs, commented: "The meeting with Government was productive and both sides now have a clear idea of the issues ahead. We will continue to work with our colleagues in RYA Northern Ireland to talk to Government about the practical difficulties that these issues present and work constructively with HM Treasury and HMRC officials to develop guidance that will inform boaters about the new fuel situation in Northern Ireland."

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About the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Northern Ireland 

  • The RYA is the national body for dinghy, yacht and motor cruising, all forms of sail racing, RIBs and sports boats, windsurfing and personal watercraft and a leading representative for inland waterways cruising.
  • The RYA is recognised by Government, the media and opinion formers as the representative body and voice for the activities that it represents. It continually fights for the rights and freedoms of its 112,000 personal members.
  • The RYA has more than 1,500 affiliated clubs and classes, which represent some 350,000 boaters throughout the UK. It is estimated that 4 million people in the UK take part in boating activity annually.
  • The RYA also sets and maintains recognised standards for training for both leisure and commercial boating through a network of more than 2,400 RYA Recognised Training Centres across 58 countries. More than 250,000 people per year complete RYA training courses.
  • The RYA is responsible for one of the UK’s most successful Olympic medal-winning sports. Our coaching and development schemes actively support 800 of our country’s top sailors, from talented juniors to Olympic and World champions.
  • The RYA is committed to promoting all forms of boating and making them accessible to everyone. For more information please visit www.rya.org.uk.
  • The Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland (RYA NI) acts for the RYA in Northern Ireland (NI) and the Chairman of RYA NI is invited to join the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) Policy Review Committee.
  • You can find the RYA Northern Ireland at Sketrick House, GE8, Jubilee Road, Newtownards, BT23 4YH.
  • RYA NI is a company limited by guarantee – Registration number NI 51945
  • Contact RYA NI: Tel: 02891 827154 email: [email protected]

 

 

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