The RYA is urging recreational boaters to respond to HMRC’s consultation on proposed changes to the rules for red diesel used in private pleasure craft as a result of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

In response to the CJEU’s ruling that the UK’s taxation rules for diesel used in private pleasure craft contravened the Fuel Marker Directive, the government intends to abolish the scheme introduced in 2008 that allowed 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.

HMRC’s consultation 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.

At a recent meeting with the RYA and other key stakeholders, HMRC indicated that there has already been a significant response to the eight-week consultation – with submissions being received from individuals and groups around the country and across the many different boating types that would be affected by the proposed changes. Boaters who have not yet responded now have until Monday, 9 September to put across their views.

RYA action

The RYA is responding to this consultation in line with 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.

We believe the removal of the current system, which permits recreational boaters to use red diesel subject to the payment of duty at the rate applicable for the intended use, will have significant practical, cost and safety consequences for a great many UK private pleasure boaters who enjoy their sport and recreation afloat or earn their livelihood from the leisure marine industry.

As such, we are urging Government to retain the current system of red diesel supply, particularly as our imminent exit from the EU means that the UK is not bound by any retained EU Law according to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

Last chance to respond

The consultation is available at:

The RYA encourages users of diesel propelled craft, particularly private pleasure craft, and those involved in the supply of fuel to UK craft to respond to the consultation. 

Email to:

Write to: Gary Satchell, Excise & Environmental Taxes Policy Design Team, HM Revenue and Customs, Room 3/36, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ

Telephone (Mondays to Thursdays only): 03000 585802

Consultation closes at 11:45pm on 9 September 2019

A summary of responses will be published after this consultation concludes. This consultation will inform when the changes will be brought into effect in legislation and whether any adjustment period is needed.