Red diesel


The RYA considers that marked red diesel should continue to be available to recreational boaters in the UK for the purpose of propelling a private pleasure craft, provided that appropriate duty has been paid.

In October 2018 the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland had failed to fulfil its obligations under Council Directive 95/60/EC on fiscal marking of gas oils.

In effect, following the Court’s ruling, the expectation of the European Commission is that the UK must stop allowing the use of red diesel for the purposes of propulsion of a private pleasure craft and must therefore switch to white diesel.

Consultation on the use of diesel by private pleasure craft

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has launched a consultation (see latest updates) which outlines how the government intends to implement the judgment by requiring private pleasure craft to use white diesel for propulsion, and seeks evidence regarding the impact this will have on users of diesel propelled craft.

The government intends to abolish the scheme introduced in 2008 that allows users of diesel powered private pleasure craft (e.g. yachts, canal boats and motorboats) to purchase red diesel and pay the duty differential between red and white diesel on the fuel used for propulsion.

The RYA will respond to the consultation in line with the policy on this issue agreed by its Cruising and Government Affairs Committee, setting out the many practical issues that implementation will bring and seeking a long transition period if the UK remains compelled to implement the judgement. This policy also urges Government not to implement the CJEU judgement in the event of a no deal Brexit. The RYA has been part of a group of key stakeholders that HMRC has engaged with pre-consultation and a further meeting will be held shortly, which will provide the opportunity to reiterate our policy.

Boaters should experience no change in respect of their use of red diesel both in the UK and overseas until the UK Government makes changes to existing legislation. The RYA will be lobbying for any 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 boat fuel systems for a considerable period of time after the commencement date of any change to the use of white diesel.

Should you have any difficulties with red diesel abroad, please contact the RYA’s Cruising, Legal and Government Affairs team via or 023 8060 4232.

Latest Updates

RYA welcomes Red Diesel extended implementation date for Northern Ireland

RYA and RYA NI welcome the announcement that HMRC will delay the changeover date... 

RYA delighted at Government decision on tax reform of Red Diesel

HM Treasury confirm recreational boaters’ continued entitlement to red diesel... read more

RYA calls for HM Treasury to ensure that fuel supplies for recreational craft are assured

RYA responds to the HM Treasury’s red diesel consultation... read more

HMRC’s Red Diesel Consultation is now live

Don't miss your opportunity to have your say on the future of red diesel... read more

Budget 2020: Chancellor announces consultation to remove Red Diesel entitlement

Chancellor Rishi Sunak shares plans to review the current use of red diesel... read more

Last chance to have your say on HMRC red diesel consultation

Consultation will close at 11:45pm on Monday, 9 September... read more

HM Revenue and Customs launches red diesel consultation

Implementation of the CJEU judgment on diesel fuel used in private pleasure craft … read more

RYA and industry representatives meet HMRC to discuss red diesel situation  

Update on Government response to EU ruling … read more

Court of Justice of the European Union rules against HMRC over red diesel

Impact on the availability of red diesel for recreational boating as yet unknown … read more

HMRC lodges defence with the Court of Justice of the European Union over red diesel

Government re-affirms its supportive stance on the availability of red diesel for recreational boating … read more

Controls in Belgium for red diesel remain suspended 

Boaters can continue to visit Belgium without fear of fines, for now ... read more

European Commission taking UK to court over red diesel

RYA receives case number from European Commission ... read more

RYA issues latest red diesel update

Representing boaters' interests as Belgian situation develops ... read more

UK boater fined for red diesel in Belgium

Risk remains of fines from Belgian authorities ... read more

RYA to respond to Government's call for evidence on red diesel 

Don't miss your chance to contribute to Government's call for evidence  ... read more

Reminder for boaters using red diesel abroad

Belgium still a risk for UK boaters using red diesel ... read more


RYA urges local marinas to lobby Belgian Government

Update on the use of "marked" red diesel in private pleasure craft ... read more


RYA meets with Government over latest red diesel development

The crux of the matter is ensuring the continued availability of diesel for the leisure boating community. ... read more

EC to take UK to court over red diesel

Culmination of infringement proceedings over the UK’s use of marked ‘red’ fuel. ... read more


Belgium to tolerate use of red diesel by UK boats

Visiting British leisure craft can use red diesel in Belgian waters subject to conditions. ... read more

UK Government supports recreational boaters over continued use of red diesel

Government intends to challenge the European Commission. ... read more

UK to challenge European Commission over red diesel

RYA and BMF pleased that Government has decided to challenge the Commission's Reasoned Opinion. ... read more

European Commission continues to challenge UK over red diesel

Formal request by European Commission for UK to amend legislation. ... read more

Red diesel: Government recognises RYA objection to amended declaration

Government has confirmed today that it has no intention to make it unlawful for red diesel bought in the UK to be used outside UK territorial waters ... read more

RYA and BMF meet with HMRC to discuss recent red diesel announcement

HMRC confirmed Government has no intention to make it unlawful for red diesel bought in the UK to be used outside UK territorial waters. ... read more

RYA advice on HMRC red diesel announcement

Your questions answered on the recent HMRC red diesel announcement ... read more

RYA challenges HMRC proposals

RYA clear that HMRC proposals present a real problem for recreational boaters. ... read more

RYA challenges Belgian authorities' actions in fining UK boaters

Gus Lewis, Head of Government Affairs, tells us why the RYA is challenging the actions of the Belgian authorities. ... read more

Red Diesel: a game of two halves

A complex issue of semantics and EU law. ... read more