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Cross-Channel red diesel use outlawed

  • Neil
  • 24 Feb 2012
  • General
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Useage OK in Home Waters but EU moving to challenge UK position on Marine red diesel use


All boaters using red diesel outside Home Waters will be breaking European law from April 1st. The UK Treasury has ruled that dyed diesel can be used by pleasure craft within the UK's 12 mile territorial limit from that date. Boaters and yachtsmen will also have to fill in a declaration form pledging that their voyage will not take them into International Waters.

There have been reports that that the  Belgian Authorities will fine all skippers with red diesel in their tanks or even in their engine filters. As far as the European Commission is concerned the UK is in breach of an EU marking directive. 

Today a spokesman for HMRC said the move had come after talks with the Treasury, the European Commission, marine industry chiefs, and the RYA.He said the new rule was a 'compromise' which he hoped the EC would accept as they still feel that red diesel use by leisure craft is still illegal even in UK waters.

Gus Lewis Head of Government Affairs for the RYA, has made it clear to the HMRC that restricting the use of marked ‘red' diesel to UK waters would not be acceptable.

Mr Lewis, said: 'There is nothing in the Government's proposals that would actually make the use of marked ‘red' diesel for propelling a private pleasure craft outside UK waters unlawful. However, what it is attempting to do is to make recreational boaters sign a declaration acknowledging a legal situation that doesn't exist under UK law.

'We have had a very positive working relationship with HMRC, which has worked hard over the years to accommodate recreational boating interests. However, the RYA cannot support this proposed amendment to the Hydrocarbon Oils Duties Act 1979. I have been in contact with HMRC today about the consultation documents and will keep boaters informed of progress.'



This article and the photograph were originally published in Yatching Monthly in March 2012