HM Treasury
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Consultation to be launched on the use of red diesel for rural gritting

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury Chloe Smith has yesterday announced a consultation on extending the use of rebated fuel or ‘red diesel’ to allow tractors to grit roads in rural communities.

The consultation will be carried out in the New Year by HM Revenue & Customs, following an informal review into wider use of red diesel for a range of community-based activities.

For the last two winters, HMRC has temporarily relaxed its enforcement procedures to allow tractors to provide this important support for communities which are often too remote to benefit from municipal gritting during extreme weather.

This winter HMRC is continuing to monitor the weather situation and will once again relax the rules should there be a deterioration in conditions.
Chloe Smith said:

“Making sure farmers are able to support rural communities during severe weather is the right thing to do. The Government welcomes the vital assistance that farmers all round the country want to offer to their local communities.

“We stand ready in the event of heavy weather this winter to temporarily relax rules again, but in the longer term we want to look at making a permanent change to ensure that farmers are not penalised by the tax system. We are seeking a common sense approach.”

In respect of other community activities, the Government is clear the HMRC should take a common sense approach to enforcement and has asked that revised guidance be issued to its officers.

Notes for Editors

  1. HMRC will consult formally on changes to the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979 to allow farmers to use their tractors to grit roads in rural areas.
  2. The consultation will begin early in the New Year, and will be published on the consultations section of the HMRC website
  3. If weather conditions do deteriorate and HMRC temporarily relaxes the gritting rules, an announcement will be made on the HMRC What’s New page.
  4. Non-media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Correspondence and Enquiry Unit on 020 7270 4558 or by e-mail to
  5. This Press Release and other Treasury publications are available on the HM Treasury website. For the latest information from HM Treasury you can subscribe to our RSS feeds or email service. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Press Office on 020 7270 5238.

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