The announcement last week from HMRC that red diesel would be permitted for use in agricultural vehicles when gritting winter roads is plain common sense says Susie Swift, partner in the Landed Estates and Rural Business Group of UK top 20 Chartered Accountant Saffery Champness, and based in the firm’s Inverness office.
The announcement regarding the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act (HODA) changes the rules and adds gritting of public roads to the permitted activities of tractors, light agricultural vehicles and agricultural material handlers when fuelled by red diesel.
Previously such vehicles were only allowed to use red diesel for off-road activities and only purpose-built gritters were allowed to use red diesel when gritting on public roads.
Susie Swift says:
This is a positive move. It really hasn’t been practical for farmers to re-fuel their tractors with normal diesel when undertaking gritting activities and consequently the uptake to do this will not have been as great as it could have been. HMRC has recognized that farmers often need to respond quickly to cold snaps and bad weather and this change will allow them to help to keep rural roads open – and equally important, safe - for other road users.
The change came into effect on 1 November 2013.