At Spring Budget 2017 the Government announced a call for evidence on the use of rebated gas oil (i.e. marked "red" diesel), which makes up over 15% of the total amount of diesel used in the UK, in order to improve its understanding of how red diesel is used.

Although the supply chain for red diesel is regulated and thus within the Government's general scope, the Government has indicated that it has less information about the users of red diesel and the geographic spread of its use.

Evidence gathering

The Government has indicated that, in particular, it would like to understand how red diesel use has changed and how it could change in the future, although the Government has stated that this evidence-gathering initiative does not imply a change in the Government's view on the eligibility criteria for red diesel.

The Government has invited evidence on red diesel to explore the quantities used across different sectors and the value of the rebate to those industries which benefit, in an effort to improve the data sources available to the Government about red diesel use and to contribute to a better evidence base for future policies.

The call for evidence focuses on two main areas:

1.     Users of red diesel. The Government is interested in gathering further information about the end use of red diesel, particularly in relation to:

  • The purpose and type of use, such as business, public sector or domestic. Where red diesel is used as motor fuel, what types of machinery, including excepted vehicles, it is used to power and what they are used for;
  • Where in the country diesel is used. Where red diesel is used as a motor fuel, the number of any machines, including excepted vehicles operating at those locations; and
  • Whether there are any viable alternative fuels available to power such machinery or equipment.

2.     Suppliers of red diesel. The Government is interested in obtaining evidence from both registered and exempt suppliers on:

  • The quantities of red diesel supplied; and
  • Where in the country red diesel is distributed to, particularly details on the split between urban and rural areas.

Our position  

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.

Stuart Carruthers, RYA Cruising Manager, said: "The RYA has been fully engaged with the issues surrounding the continued availability of red diesel for many years and we will be responding to this call for evidence to provide the Government with information regarding the supply and use of red diesel. However, we would also encourage clubs that are Registered Dealers in Controlled Oils to respond to the call for evidence directly."

The evidence session is now open and will close on 30 June 2017.