The supply of red diesel for recreational boaters should continue under current arrangements or the total conversion to the supply of white diesel at the waterside must go ahead as intended, RYA says. 

Responding to the HM Treasury’s red diesel consultation on behalf of its members, the RYA has made it clear that anything less than the removal of the entitlement to use red diesel from all except the agriculture sector and for non-commercial heating systems, such as homes and narrowboats, could be detrimental to recreational boating.

The RYA fears that if concessions are made for some marine fuel users, particularly for the fishing industry, then the Government’s proposals will severely affect fuel supply for recreational boaters as it will not be economically viable for marine businesses to provide white and red diesel, particularly in the more remote areas of the UK.

The consultation, ‘Reforms to the tax treatment of red diesel and other rebated fuels,’ was launched in July and concluded on 1 October. It sought views on whether other sectors should be entitled to use red diesel beyond April 2022, proposals for a new relief scheme that would enable suppliers to deduct the duty difference white diesel intended for non-propulsion use from the sale price and flushing of fuel tanks.

The RYA’s main case for the continued use of red diesel has always been about the potential lack of availability of white diesel at the waterside. The RYA response calls on Government to ensure that supplies of fuel for recreational use for propulsion and domestic usage are assured; supports proposals that recreational boaters will not have to flush their tanks and supports a new relief scheme that allows craft users to declare accurately the amount of diesel they intend to use for non-propulsion.

RYA’s Director of External Affairs, Howard Pridding, commented: “The RYA's preferred position has always been and remains unchanged in that we consider that the use of duty-paid red diesel is the simplest means of maintaining supply for all recreational boaters on the coast and on inland waterways. 

“If the Government makes concessions on the continued use of red diesel after April 2022 for other marine fuel users, excluding recreational boating, then the availability of fuel at the waterside will come into question, as it will not be economically viable for marine businesses to provide two types of fuel.

“The RYA and our members fully support the Government’s targets of increasing energy efficiency and reducing air pollution, but we also want to ensure that fuel supply is readily available at the waterside for recreational boaters. If this is not so, then it is likely that many users will have no option but to fill up cans to fuel their boats which will greatly increase the chance of accidental spillages and cause unintended damage to the environment.” 

You can read more about the RYA's lobbying developments with red diesel here.

If you have any questions regarding red diesel or any other current affair issues, please visit the Current Affairs page on the RYA website or email: cruising@rya.org.uk.