The RYA has made it clear to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that the proposals set out in its consultation documents published yesterday present a real problem for recreational boaters. 

There is no legal prohibition on the use of red diesel for propelling private pleasure craft in international waters but the proposed amendment to the declaration to be made when buying fuel gives the impression that there is.  

Gus Lewis Head of Government Affairs has been working with HMRC to ensure that boaters’ interests are protected in the Government’s negotiations with the European Commission (EC) over the use of duty-paid marked diesel. The RYA has made it clear that restricting the use of marked ‘red’ diesel to UK waters would not be acceptable and indeed made this point again only yesterday afternoon to HMRC.  

Gus Lewis: “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".