Red Diesel Fuel Fines a Possibility for British Leisure Boats
Red diesel fuel fines could soon be issued to leisure boaters in the UK. The European Commission has decided to refer the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the European Union. This is for not correctly applying the guidelines on financial marking on red diesel fuel.
Under EU instructions, fuel that can take advantage of a reduced duty rate has to be marked by coloured dye. Angling vessels, e.g., are permitted to take advantage of red diesel fuel. However private leisure vessels must use fuel that pays the normal rate of tax.
At present, UK regulation does not oblige fuel distributors to have two distinct fuel containers to distinguish between red diesel and white diesel.
Consequently private leisure vessel owners are frequently in a situation where they can only purchase red diesel fuel.
Therefore, private leisure vessels may not pay the correct amount of duty, as they purchase fuel usually for fishing vessels.
Not only does this defy EU excise guidelines, but it likewise puts private vessels in danger of hefty penalties. If they are checked by native authorities while they travel to another EU State they could receive large red diesel fuel fines.
The Commission sent a Rational Opinion to the UK on this matter in May 2013.
Its failure to bring its legislature into obedience with EU regulation is the reason why the situation is now being referred to the Court of Justice.
The European Court of Justice has accepted the case filed by the European Commission under Article 3 of the Marking Directive. It is up to them to decide if powering leisure boats with red diesel is classified as unsuitable use. If so, all leisure boats in the UK will have to pay the full rate of tax when purchasing fuel. This will be the end of the proceedings that have lasted for over a year between the UK Government and the Commission.
Information correct at time of writing (July 2014)