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Following the ruling by the European Union Court of Justice against the UK’s use of red diesel by private pleasure craft, representatives from the boating community and boating industry – British Marine, the Cruising Association, the Inland Waterways Association and the Royal Yachting Association – met with HMRC officials on Tuesday 20 November to discuss the implications of the Court’s decision and evaluate the UK’s response. The meeting was extremely informative and productive, and the continued support of the UK Government is welcomed. In effect, following the Court’s ruling, the expectation of the European Commission is that the UK must stop allowing the use of red diesel for the purposes of propulsion of a private pleasure craft and must, therefore, switch to white diesel. The UK is required to provide a response to the Commission by 22 December 2018, setting out how it intends to bring the UK into line with the European Directive on fiscal marking of gas oils and kerosene, as well as a timeframe for achieving this. It remains the position of all the boating representative bodies that a change to using white diesel would create insurmountable problems for boat users and the industry. All the boating representative bodies will, therefore, be providing evidence of the practical implications to HMRC officials to inform the UK’s response to the Commission in the hope that we can jointly develop a practical and affordable solution in a realistic timeframe.
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