Red Diesel Consultation

The outcomes of the Red Diesel Consultation in March 2021 has presented a number of concerns for boaters in Northern Ireland, following the announcement that NI had to adhere to the 2018 ruling by the European Court as part of the NI Protocol.

Outcomes of Red Diesel Consultation

Publication of the outcomes to the HM Treasury Red Diesel Consultation on 3rd March 2021 outlined that Northern Ireland would be changing to white diesel use for private craft from June 2021.

This immediately raised concerns for local boaters in Northern Ireland and a number of clarifications have been sought with HM Treasury and HMRC on the implementation of this by RYA and RYANI.   RYANI also wrote to the DAERA Minister, highlighting the issue, however this has been clarified as an issue for HMRC.

Following ongoing engagement, RYA Northern Ireland welcomes a number of subsequent clarifications from HM Treasury and HMRC on the changes that are addressed in our FAQ document.  The UK Government has recognised the concerns raised and that the original implementation date of June was simply not possible.   The postponed move to 1 October 2021 will help ensure activity over the main summer season is to wholly adversely impacted and allow suppliers more time in order to switch to the necessary infrastructure.

Summary of key changes

  • The government outlined it is legally committed to the change as a result of Article 8 of the Northern Ireland Protocol which covers EU excise directive.  The decision relates to the sale of diesel in Northern Ireland, where only white will be allowed for the purposes of propulsion of private pleasure craft from 1 October 2021.
  • Officials have clarified that red diesel already in boat tanks at the time of prohibition will be able to be used without penalty and more details on this is found in the full guidance.

  • Recreational craft from Northern Ireland visiting Great Britain in the future will also be able to purchase red diesel under the terms of the Istanbul Convention, which will allow fuel legitimately purchased in Great Britain to be taken back to Northern Ireland in the main fuel tanks of a boat.  The same principle will apply to boats visiting NI from GB.
  • RYA Northern Ireland welcomes that there will be a new duty relief  (60:40) scheme in place to help avoid disproportionately penalising Northern Ireland boaters.
  • The availability of white diesel at waterside remains a concern, with fuel suppliers having to take commercial decisions about the cost of infrastructure changes to be able to supply white

HMRC Guidance

Full guidance, including how to prepare for the change, evidencing fuel in tanks and requirements to claim discounted diesel from registered suppliers is available at:  

Our latest FAQs based upon information received regarding the Red Diesel Consultation and outcomes.