HMRC consultation on the future of red diesel

The Cruising Association urges UK boaters to respond to HMRC consultation on the future of red diesel

IIn 2018 the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the UK should not allow private pleasure craft to continue to use red diesel. HMRC has just issued its consultation document which outlines the proposed change to white diesel for the propulsion of powered leisure craft, including inland boats. The document contains a number of questions for owners of diesel-powered craft.

The Cruising Association (CA) is now urging all UK boaters who use diesel fuel to respond directly to these questions. HMRC has made it clear that it will only accept responses from individuals, and not a compilation of responses.

Interested parties can access the full document, Implementation of the Court of Justice of the European Union judgment on diesel fuel used in private pleasure craft: on the website.

The full list of questions is below. Send your responses to or by post to Gary Satchell, Excise & Environmental Taxes Policy Design Team, HM Revenue & Customs, Room 3/36, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ

There are still some uncertainties about whether the CJEU ruling will actually be implemented in the UK, depending on the outcome of Brexit. Whatever the outcome, on behalf of CA members, RATS (the Regulations and Technical Services Committee), must make certain all the supply difficulties and all the problems of other stakeholders are properly and legally resolved during a workable transition period.

RATS will be pleased to hear from members and will publish comments on this topic. If emailing HMRC with your responses, please consider copying

The CA is Britain's leading organisation for cruising sailors with 6,300+ members around the world, providing services, information, help and regulatory and technical advice to sailors worldwide through RATS, an executive committee of the CA.

Questions for diesel-fuelled craft users and owners
If you own more than one craft please answer the questions for each craft

Q9) Where do you use your craft? If more than one type of location please estimate in percentage terms the amount of time per year your craft spends in these areas.

  • A river (please specify which)
  • A canal (please specify which)
  • Inland lakes / broads (please specify which)
  • The coast (please specify where)
  • International (please give details)

Q10) What do you use your craft for? If more than one type of use please estimate in percentage terms the amount of time per year you use your craft for.

  • Commercial only
  • Private use only
  • Predominantly commercial use with some private pleasure use
  • Predominantly private pleasure use with some commercial use
  • Permanently moored houseboat with occasional short distance propulsion by diesel motor to another mooring
  • Fixed mooring, residential only (i.e. no propulsion)
  • Continuous cruiser/boat without a home mooring

Q11) Where do you usually buy your diesel fuel? If more than one type of location please estimate in percentage terms the amount of time per year your craft uses these areas.

  • Marina (please specify which)
  • Port (please specify which)
  • Delivered by supplier
  • Other (please specify)

Q12) How much diesel do you purchase at any one time?

Q13) How often do you refuel your craft?

Q14) If the place where you currently buy fuel did not supply white diesel, where would you buy fuel from? What difficulties would you encounter?

Q15) Approximately how many litres of diesel fuel do you use in a typical year:

  • for propulsion for private use
  • for propulsion for commercial use
  • for on-board non-propulsion use
  • for other purposes (please specify)?

Q16) Are the purposes specified in question 15) fuelled from the same tank? If “yes”:

  1. Would it be possible to fit a separate fuel tank for non-propulsion purposes? If not, please outline your reasons;
  2. How costly would this be and how prohibitive would this be for you?
  3. How long typically would it take to run down your red diesel stock?

Q17) Do you foresee any problems with refuelling if you are required to use white diesel for propulsion e.g. areas where you would be concerned that white diesel would be unavailable? Please provide details of the likely implications.

Q18) If you use your craft for a mix of commercial and private pleasure use, how easy would it be to completely remove red diesel from your fuel tank after commercial use, before using white diesel for private pleasure use? Please provide details.

Q19) Do you agree with aligning penalties for misuse of red diesel in private pleasure craft with the current penalties for misuse of red diesel in road vehicles is appropriate? If not, what difficulties do you foresee?