Please respond by 1st October to Government consultation on phasing out red diesel for propulsion

The Treasury is planning legislation to prohibit the use of red diesel for propulsion in “private pleasure craft”, following the 2018 judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) regarding red diesel in private pleasure boats. This is part of a wider phasing out of red diesel for many uses, to meet environmental obligations. The Government plans to implement the changes from April 2022, though this may be phased in later for private boats. The current consultation follows a 2019 HMRC consultation on implementing the CJEU judgement on red diesel in private boats. Please respond if you can, so that the Government understands the impact on individual Bargee Travellers.

The deadline is 11.45pm on 1st October 2020. The consultation and the response form are online here or you can download them here Consultation_on_reforms_to_the_tax_treatment_of_red_diesel_and_other_rebated_fuels


The Government is proposing the following:

People whose main or only home is their boat will continue to be entitled to use red diesel, but ONLY if they have a permanent mooring, including those boats where all uses are fuelled from the same tank, provided they fulfil certain requirements that are yet to be decided.

Bargee Travellers (liveaboards without a permanent mooring) will continue to be able to use red diesel for domestic heat and power, but ONLY if they have two fuel tanks. Otherwise they will have to use white diesel for all purposes, but will get a rebate on the diesel they use for domestic heat and power. It appears that the Government has listened to the NBTA’s 2019 arguments about the unfairness of Bargee Travellers having to pay road duty on white diesel used for domestic heat and power, when house dwellers do not pay this level of tax on their domestic gas and electricity.

The Government is considering either a blanket 60/40 split or self-declaration to determine the rebate on white diesel used for domestic heat and power.

Boaters already pay the white diesel rate of duty on the red diesel they use for propulsion, by self-declaring the percentage to the supplier or sometimes by the supplier unilaterally imposing a 60/40 split; this has been the case since 2008.

There will be penalties for anyone found to have bought and used red diesel for propulsion after a cut-off date, this is your chance to put your views on the impact of any penalties. The NBTA will be advising members to retain all their diesel receipts after any change is implemented and to record their engine hours and/or mileage in order to mitigate any unjust accusations of having red diesel in their tanks after any changes are implemented.

The Government does not propose to require boaters to flush out their tanks to remove traces of red diesel.

The consultation seeks people’s views on whether removing the entitlement to use red diesel will create perverse environmental outcomes.

The consultation invites people’s views on the impact of the change to them personally and/or to their business.

The NBTA will be responding to this consultation, but we encourage members to submit your own individual responses, and also to contact the NBTA with any issues you would like to be included in the NBTA’s response.

You can send responses by 1 October 2020 to, or by completing the submission form here:

Or you can post responses to:

Red Diesel Consultation
Energy and Transport Tax team
HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road

See also