Issue date: 4th April 2012
HM Revenue & Customs has issued advice to boaters and is consulting on changes to legislation concerning the use of red diesel on the continent. The issue follows actions taken by Belgian customs who have decided to take action against any visiting vessels found with marked red diesel in their fuel tanks.
The draft amendment, published by HMRC on 20 February 2012 for consultation, does not propose to extend the territorial scope of the 1979 Act and would therefore still neither prohibit nor authorise the use of marked red diesel for propelling private pleasure craft outside UK territorial waters.
However, other coastal states may apply their own legislation to vessels navigating in their own territorial waters.
So far, Belgium appears to be the only country in which fines may be imposed on boaters where red diesel is detected in a boat's fuel tank used for propulsion irrespective as to whether the correct level of duty has been paid or not.
IWA has been involved in detailed discussions with HMRC along with British Marine Federation and RYA on this matter. There is to be no change to arrangements for the use of red diesel on inland waters in the UK provided the correct amount of duty has been paid.