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HMRC responds to British Marine on Red Diesel concerns

Published on: 08 November 2018


In October, the European Court of Justice found that the UK had failed to fulfil its obligations under Council Directive 95/60/EC of 27 November 1995 on fiscal marking of gas oils and kerosene (OJ 1995 L 291, p. 46). The judgement of the European Court means that, while the UK remains subject to the Fuel Marker Directive, the UK must bring its practices into line with this ruling.

British Marine made urgent representations to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), to find out what the UK’s position is, in light of this ruling, and to request an urgent meeting to discuss the UK’s response. HMRC has responded and informed British Marine that:

  • At present, HMRC has only seen the judgment itself, and still awaits formal communication from the European Commission (EC) on what they expect of the UK, and any timescale
  • It is clear that the EC will expect the UK to take some action, and HMRC will involve interested stakeholders in helping to shape that action, and also ensuring that the industry and boaters are kept informed of any developments
  • Currently, HMRC is still developing and considering various scenarios, including what the EC might say, and the ongoing Brexit negotiations

HMRC has agreed to a meeting with the main stakeholders (British Marine, Royal Yachting Association and Inland Waterways Association) once it has a skeleton framework on which to build the UK’s formal response and plan

To help inform the HMRC (UK) decision-making and response process, and ahead of a meeting, British Marine and its partner organisations will be submitting information and evidence, on the potential impact of any decision that prevents the continued use of red diesel by the UK marine sector. This will highlight the key arguments that the partners have been making for years in support of continued use of red diesel:

  1. It is uneconomical to supply white diesel
  2. Health, safety and environmental impacts
  3. Issue of ‘Not a trace’

British Marine members can read more about the key arguments and download guidance on red diesel from the British Marine website. This guidance will be updated as and when the UK has a formal process in place to respond to the requirements of the ECJ and Commission.

British Marine members can engage with the evidence gathering process and ask questions by contacting Andrew Harries, Head of External Relations, at