The Residential Boat Owners’ Association (RBOA) has responded to a joint call for evidence recently published by Defra and the Treasury on Non-road Mobile Machinery (NRMM).
Red diesel accounts for 15% of all diesel consumption in the UK and currently benefits from a reduced duty rate of 11.14p per litre compared to the standard charge of 57.95p. The call for evidence is looking at whether the reduced duty rate for red diesel is holding back the use of cleaner fuels by non-road vehicles and machinery in towns and cities.
The call for evidence therefore excludes red diesel used for agricultural purposes and for fishing vessels but includes a wide range of other uses such as machinery used in construction or waste management sites, mobile generators, inland waterway vessels and transport refrigeration units, to mention just a few.
RBOA responded as follows: “The fundamental case for retaining legal availability of red diesel for residential boats and other floating homes in the UK is unchanged from that put forward, accepted and agreed at the time of the previous HMRC consultation. If anything, the earlier case is now strengthened due to the substantial increase in numbers of UK residents now living afloat and the fact that Central Government actively encourages local authorities to include the needs of residential boaters in their constituency housing plans.
“Those living in floating homes should not be disadvantaged in terms of cost for heating and power provision when compared with land-based residents who can readily access low cost heating oils.
“The present scheme, whereby residential boaters self-declare a percentage split of diesel usage between domestic and propulsion, works well, is fair, is transparent and is easily accounted for by fuel retailers.
“It should not be forgotten that, even when under way, whenever a craft’s engine is run it is usually providing power to charge electrical battery banks and, often, hot water for personal hygiene, domestic uses and/or central heating of accommodation space.
“It would be totally impractical and financially prohibitive if retailers and live-aboard dwellers were required to cater for two different fuels (red/white diesel). The provision of extra/separate storage tanks and dispensing equipment by suppliers could force many to abandon fuel sales which, itself, would cause major availability issues for navigating craft. Similarly, a requirement for craft to carry two separate tanks on board would be impossible in many cases, particularly on relatively small craft where space is already at a premium.
“In conclusion, RBOA strongly advises that the availability and accountability of red diesel for use in residential craft (floating homes) throughout the UK should remain unchanged.”
The Residential Boat Owners’ Association has existed for more than 50 years as the leading volunteer-run organisation dedicated solely to the promotion and protection of the live-aboard lifestyle, however and wherever it is responsibly practised within the United Kingdom.
Enjoy more Towpath Talk reading in the monthly paper. Click here to subscribe.