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Red diesel rule change
A RELAXATION of the rules on the use of red diesel that will allow agricultural vehicles to grit public roads will enable more farmers to assist local communities during bad weather conditions, the NFU has said.
Tractors and other approved farm vehicles will be able to use red diesel to help provide access to schools, hospitals, remote dwellings or communities cut off by ice and snow.
Previously, only purpose-built gritters were permitted to use red diesel to clear roads.
Although in recent years HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has temporarily relaxed the rules in extreme weather, prior to that farmers would have risked prosecution if caught.
HMRC has recognised the vital role that farmers play across the country during winter, and is planning a rule change that will specifically allow the use of red diesel in any vehicle classified as an ‘agricultural machine’ for gritting ‘as and when conditions demand it’.
NFU transport spokesman John Collen said: “This is an issue the NFU has been pursuing for a number of years and HMRC has shown that it understands the issues facing rural communities in times of extreme weather.
“We are pleased that the proposed amendments will extend to all vehicles registered in the agricultural tax class, which includes agricultural quad bikes, and that there will be no limit on distance.”