From the 1st April 2022 new regulations come into force around Red Diesel and what it can be used for.  This may impact a variety of sectors.  After this date, it will no longer be legal to use Red Diesel for non-road mobile machinery such as cranes, bulldozers or powering portable generators on the likes of construction sites.

Agricultural vehicle using red diesel

When is it acceptable to use Red Diesel?

Under the new rules the use of the machinery/vehicle is the qualifier.  The uses that are acceptable under the changes are:

  • Vehicles designed to run on railways
  • Machinery and Caravans used by travelling fairs and circuses
  • Vehicles and machinery used in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, and fish farming
  • Heating and electricity in non-commercial premises which also includes off grid power generation, places of worship, town halls and non-commercial hospitals
  • Agriculture vehicles used to cut verges and hedges that border public road
  • Agriculture vehicles for clearing snow
  • Agriculture vehicles for gritting
  • Agriculture vehicles for helping to clear up following flooding
  • Maintaining facilities of community amateur sports clubs including golf clubs
  • Fuel for commercial watercraft refuelling and operating in the uk including fishing and freight industries
  • Fuelling private pleasure crafts in Great Britain (Excluding Northern Ireland)

Red Diesel and HMRC

Under the new regulations the onus has been put on the owner/operator of the vehicle or machinery to provide proof of exemption for their activity rather than HMRC to prove it is not, as was previously the case.

HMRC may carry out spot checks. It is advised to keep logs of when red diesel was put into the vehicle or machinery, if it is now not allowed, as traces of red diesel may stay in tanks even after flushing.

Flushing between red and white diesel can be costly, raising questions of what to do with vehicles and machines that are used for both allowed and exempt activities. Extra care would also need to be taken, especially if the vehicle is on hire or lease.

HMRC can seize vehicles or machinery found to be using red diesel against the regulations and issue fines and sanctions against those breaching the rules.

For further guidance, see the HMRC published paper linked below: