The real red diesel story?


New member
3 Sep 2001
N London, and boat in Suffolk
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"While there were initial hopes that red diesel excise might be charged at 20p per litre to motorboaters, Treasury officials claim that the Commission will not allow them to provide a preferential rate for pleasure boaters over other users of diesel fuel."

So runs the new line from the Teasury. It is not true, of course. Having (apparently) supported the boating industry's appeal to retain the red diesel derogation in Brussels, and lost, the Treaury is not bound to up the excise by more than the minimum - harmonisdation is the job of the Commission and it does not seek nor does it have the power to order any particular level of duty in any member country. It follows that agricultural and other industrial red diesel applications will continue here as before. Hiding behind the Commission on such a matter is a clear sign of how pathetic the management of our affairs has become.

So we conclude that the Treasury is moving to harmonise diesel excise for us and car users as a purely political gesture, a sop to the limp wristed, ie those who think boat ownership is antisocial.

Is there no depth to which this government will stoop to avoid being held accountable? In the nature of the Brussels machine, Treasury ministers would have known beforehand their application would fail but sought to earn browny points by nominally presenting a claim on our behalf ! More gesture politics - we are taken for such fools.

Now, there is every prospect that some idiot in C & E will try to gold plate the new regime - fellow boaters should press with determination for sensible transition arrangements; withdraw red diesel from pumps as supplies are used up, but make no requirment of the 200,000 boat ownmers in the UK to purge their tanks of every last vestige of red fuel. And accept that red purchased anywhere in Europe, including the Channel Islands is legitimate for on board use.