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.

However, HMRC expects to launch a consultation, probably later in July, to discover the likely problems and potential solutions associated with a change from red diesel to white diesel for private pleasure craft propulsion. RATS will be in immediate contact with members as soon we know more.

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).