Last week HMRC announced that Farmers would be allowed to grit roads using their vehicles and machinery that are powered by red diesel. This is the second time this year that HMRC have lifted their ban on rebated fuel, after the heavy snowfall in February. This led to HMRC saying they would review the policy on using red diesel for gritting.
During the winter of 2010, when the country was covered in a blanket of snow, Farmers were left outraged when HMRC refused to lift the ban on the use of red diesel for gritting, even though some parts of the country had experienced their highest levels of snowfall in years. This had a huge effect on rural communities as council spending cuts were firmly underway, public gritting was only available in urban areas. Some rural areas were left to fend for themselves and many residents were left with no option but to stay at home.
Under the current permanent law only vehicles designed specifically for gritting can use red diesel on public roads. This means that any Farmer wanting to help with gritting in the local area would have to empty their tank of red diesel and then refill it with regular diesel before carrying out the work. For many Farmers, this is more hassle than it’s worth, as emptying a tank is not an easy task and comes with all sorts of risks.
Red diesel suppler; Cooke Fuels have welcomed the temporary policy lift; “It’s only December and we’re already experiencing sub-zero temperatures. Parts of the UK have already had snow and it’s only a matter of time before that becomes widespread. HMRC have done the right thing by lifting the ban. It’s not very practical to expect Farmers to empty their tanks before they can help out with the gritting”.
HMRC are expected to announce whether they intend to make using red diesel in agriculture vehicles for gritting permanently legal early next year.