NFU sees red over diesel row

The National Farmers’ Union is backing a proposed relaxation in the rules on the use of red diesel.

This will allow farmers to grit roads during the severe winter weather without falling foul of the law.

The Government has announced that HRMC will carry out a consultation early this year, following an informal review into wider use of the rebated fuel.

NFU assistant regulatory affairs adviser Ben Coates said: “We support a change in the rules.

“A temporary relaxation of the legislation over the past couple of winters has been a common sense approach to dealing with exceptionally difficult conditions.”

The relaxation of the rules would also provide clarity to farmers who can already use red diesel in agricultural machinery.

The use of the machinery is paramount to provide access to schools, hospitals and communities that are cut off in extreme wintery conditions.

However at this moment, it is important to remember that farmers cannot use red diesel when applying grit using a tractor and spreader, whether trailed or mounted.

Mr Coates added: “While HMRC maintains their officers will take a ‘common-sense’ approach, I am worried that there will be a degree of inconsistency across the country.”

The NFU will continue to maintain a close working relationship with HMRC on this issue.