Representatives from the UK marine leisure industry are urging members to respond to an HMRC consultation following the announcement that private pleasure craft will be prohibited from using red diesel.
 
In 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that the UK should ban red diesel for private pleasure craft because the way red diesel is taxed contravenes the Fuel Marker Directive. The consultation outlines the likely timescales required for a move to white diesel and poses a number of questions to owners of diesel-powered craft.
 
Insurmountable problems
 
The Inland Waterways Association (IWA), Cruising Association and Royal Yachting Association (RYA) are appealing to members to ensure their voices are heard. A consortium made up of the three plus British Marine met HMRC officials last year and argued that a change to white diesel would create ‘insurmountable problems’ for boat users and the industry.
 
Whilst red diesel could continue to be used for heating, it would have to be in a separate tank. The IWA argues that it is not practical for most boats that use inland waterways to have two tanks, that modifications might be inappropriate and that suppliers would be reluctant to provide both types.
 
The RYA similarly raises concerns about the ‘many practical issues that implementation will bring’. Because this comes as a result of an EU ruling, it asks the government not to implement the change in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. The RYA is also lobbying for new legislation to include a transition period of sufficient length to recognise that changes will need to be made to the supply system and that the marker dye in red diesel will be detectable in fuel system for a considerable period of time after swapping to white diesel.
 
HMRC is seeking responses from individuals and will not accept compilations. The consultation can be found on the government's website.
 

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