Red Diesel Use in the EU

RATS has been campaigning on the red diesel issue over a number of years. To read all our older news items on the topic, go to

In October, a ruling by the European Court of Justice banned the use of UK red diesel for leisure vessels. So far, neither the court nor the EU Commission have expressed views over any UK changeover to white diesel for propulsion, perhaps because of the current Brexit situation.

HMRC has launched its consultation document, which can be accessed in full - 'Implementation of the Court of Justice of the European Union judgment on diesel fuel used in private pleasure craft': - on the website. This is to discover the likely problems and potential solutions associated if there is to be a change from red diesel to white diesel for private pleasure craft propulsion. RATS will be pleased to hear the opinions of members by the end of August. using the link All submissions to HMRC must be made by the 9th September, 2019.

The Irish Government has stated that from the 1st January, 2020, that the use of their green diesel for private leisure craft will be banned. RATS is in consultation with the Irish authorities about the situation for UK boats visiting Ireland with red diesel in the engine tanks bearing in mind Brexit negotiation outcomes. They will issue guidance notes as soon as possible.

In the meantime the use of UK red diesel on British leisure craft continues to be lawful.

In May a CA member was fined €500 by Belgian authorities for having red diesel (fully tax paid) in his vessel’s tank, but with the help of the CA the incident was resolved and the money returned. Since then, RATS has been in discussion with its various European contacts and as a result, a new RATS advice note has been issued for members’ guidance on visits to EU maritime states. In addition to the advice of previous years, it now contains statements from Dutch and Belgian sources confirming that the agreement we have had on UK red diesel continues to be accepted by their Customs. It also includes comments about red diesel in the Channel Islands.

It is suggested that a copy of the advice, which can be downloaded here or from the link below, is kept on the vessel should it be needed for reference. RATS continues to have confidence that, provided members follow the advice, they may sail to EU ports and marinas without being fined for having red diesel in the vessel’s tank(s).