Red diesel for charity tractor runs no longer permitted

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From the 1st April, new legislation will come into force surrounding red diesel and the applications of this, with laws changing to limit the uses of red diesel. This will have a big impact on all manner of businesses and industry areas including construction and farming. One of the widest reaching impacts in farming is that red diesel will no longer be permitted for use for charity tractor runs or ploughing matches. This means that any tanks for tractors running on red diesel will need to be flushed before a tractor run can be attended.

Why are the red diesel rules changing?

The red diesel legislation is changing on the 1st April 2022 in an aim to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This means that many users of red diesel currently will need to switch to white diesel and will also be taxed on this to reflect the emissions produced and the environmental impact. The long term aim of the rule change is to promote the use of cleaner alternatives.

Red diesel in the farming industry

The use of red diesel in the farming industry and across agriculture is not set to be too heavily affected by the rule changes, but this new information regarding charity tractor events will have a big impact on practicality and could be potentially damaging to the farming community and culture, as well as the charity work.

Newry and Armagh DUP assemblyman, William Irwin MLA, has said that:

“Whilst agriculture is being considered as an exemption generally from the proposed red diesel rebate rule changes, there will still be wider ramifications across the economy and it simply isn’t in my view a good time to be changing the rules on fuel rebates. The obvious reason being that we are coming out of a worldwide pandemic that has had massive implications, not only on health but also the economy. Indeed the administration and enforcement of the proposed rules appears to me to be a total minefield and when you learn that a charity tractor run or an annual ploughing match will have to be participated in using white diesel under the new rules, it is easy to see just how unworkable this whole situation will be. The area of charity tractor runs is a huge implication for organisers and, if not exempted, would have a very detrimental impact on charity fundraising work, which is so well supported by the rural and farming community. The reality of the rule changes means participants in the tractor run would have to drain fuel tanks of red diesel and refill with white diesel and then do the opposite on completion of the event, that is simply not practical to do and makes no common sense whatsoever.”

“The wider economic implications of course will be felt on other sectors who have enjoyed the capacity of using lower cost red diesel in machinery such as diggers and dumpers on construction sites. This will have an impact and all at a time when construction material costs are eye wateringly expensive. I have raised this issue with the Treasury directly and I await a full response to, what are, very concerning ramifications around this rebate change. There simply must be a pause on this process and an urgent rethink on the real and concerning ramifications of the proposed changes.”