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  1. #11
    Gwylan is offline Registered User
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    My response - to the Transport Taxes Team


    Subject: Changes to Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979 (HODA)
    Dear Sirs,
    A change to the law in the UK regarding the supply of red diesel to leisure boat owners is being proposed. I have to express some feelings on this matter since it has a material impact on me as a leisure sailor using maybe 200 litres of fuel a year sailing my boat within the EU.

    The idea of large scale transportation of red diesel from the UK to Europe for resale by leisure users is improbable considering the average capacity of most leisure boats is generally around 150 litres. This completely overlooks the fact that the price advantage is in the opposite direction.

    The proposed solution seems to lack any imagination or creativity and will only serve to meet an illogical EU directive. The only beneficiary will be HMG in protecting herself, possibly, from the prospect of an action by the EU.
    To simply seek to absolve the UK Government from securing an intelligent solution to this question by expecting leisure boat owners to take the risk of travelling outside UK waters is totally unreasonable.

    Practically the proposal is flawed because:
    If I sign the proposed declaration in order to secure convenient supplies from harbour based suppliers I risk difficulties anyway as soon as I leave UK waters. I cannot believe that HMG would expect me to sign the declaration knowing it is my intention to leave UK waters.
    Under the proposed system, if I refuse to sign the declaration then I have to secure supplies of un-dyed diesel at petrol stations and transport that to the boat.
    There will almost certainly be a limit to the amount of diesel that can be purchased from petrol stations and transported by car in cans.
    Transporting such diesel to the boat in multiple cans will also have associated risks of pollution whilst transferring the fuel to the boat and from the cans to the boat's storage system.
    The measure is also likely to deter foreign boat owners from coming to the UK since, when refuelling here, they will be asked to declare that the fuel will only be used in UK waters, which is patently not the case.
    The proposed change will effectively deny me the right to travel freely and safely with my boat within the EU.

    On technical grounds the powering my boat with currently available white diesel is not an acceptable solution on several grounds. Amongst them are:

    White diesel is not widely available from marine suppliers in harbours and marinas. It is highly improbable that most marine suppliers will be in a position to afford to convert their systems to accommodate un-dyed diesel.
    My existing fuel system is stained with red dye from years of use. This requires a major operation to clean the system and remove traces of dye from the tanks and piping.
    White diesel currently available in the UK contains bio-fuel. It is known that such bio-fuel has a seriously detrimental effect on some marine engines. It also causes problems of `bugs’ in tanks, causing blocked filters and other deterioration in storage leading to engine equipment damage and leakage from fuel component seals. All of which represent significant additional safety risks to boat owners.
    It is not practical in most cases to fit second tanks to accommodate un-dyed diesel.

    An incident with the Netherlands Customs on this matter and being fined €800 has made me sensitive to the implications of this measure.
    I only managed to secure a refund after considerable effort that I was able to convince the Authorities that I had bought the fuel legally and paid the prevailing duty in the UK.
    This refund did not compensate for the trauma my wife experienced being escorted at past midnight by armed customs officers to the nearest cash machine to withdraw the cash to pay the fine. The alternative was being detained and the boat being impounded.
    This is the kind of scenario that boaters travelling to the EU will be exposed to if this change is made.
    A solution would be to withdraw the proposed legislation and for the EU to take a pragmatic view of this situation and develop an intelligent, practical and cheap solution.
    Maybe agreeing with our colleagues in Europe that boats inspected that have dyed diesel in their tanks and cannot produce a legitimate receipt issued in the previous 6 months are guilty of an offence.

    If some more intelligent and enforceable solution is not achieved then I feel that you will have failed at many levels to represent my interests in the UK and the EU.


    Yours sincerely,

  2. #12
    Seagreen's Avatar
    Seagreen is offline Registered User
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    And just in time for the Olympics, when a singnificant increase in Foreign yachts visiting uk waters. What utter utter stupidity.

    But then again, I suspect the loss in revenue to French coastal towns and marinas will get them rioting and burning down government buildings. Perhaps the Eurotwats may then reconsider?

    Can we get a national newspaper to run the headline "HMRC scores spectacular Olympic own goal"?
    Last edited by Seagreen; 27-02-12 at 22:43.
    Veritas liberabit vos, nisi prius ea re doleas.
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  3. #13
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    You should be aware that the email address referenced in the Cruising Association news article: "Comments to HMRC should be sent by email using the link envirotax.bst which can be accessed only via the HMRC web site at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/drafts/rebated-pp-crafts.htm" appears to have a word limit on the comment box, resticting us to only a few sentences. It's impossible to make a complex case via that route, so it's time to reach for a postage stamp.
    Next time, it'll all be different.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemanor View Post
    Everybody is confused.

    My view is its time to bin red diesel once and for all. Bite the bullet and change to unmarked.
    Why Oh Why are we re-starting this pointless battle again? We were given time to make alternative supply arrangements and we wasted it in fannying about try to get the rules changed. I think it unlikely that the EU is going to allow a further extension so that we can, at last, accept the fact that we are out of step with other EU members and are reneging on our government's agreement to regularise fuel duty.

    We do not need another fudge, another botched, ill conceived, badly drafted measure that will only serve to prolong the agony, spread confusion and brand us as tax dodgers.

    If we had used the derogation time wisely we could quite possibly have got the while diesel supply organised and with some government support tackled the oil companies on the FAME issue. Instead we are very much on the back foot. Time for a bit of realism.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcr View Post
    This still does not address the issues that would be faced if a vessel visits France and residual traces of the previously used red diesel are turning the white pinkish(?). Could they still be prosecuted despite having cleaned their fuel tank as best they could (ie: not steam cleaned which would need tank removal), flushed through the fuel line and changed the filter?
    We are currently arranging for this to be done with a view to transporting our boat to France by road in early April, then travel on the rivers and canals to the Med.

    dcr
    Already done to death on another thread.

    British red diesel contains 9 mg/l. Legal limit is 0.12 mg/l. You therefore need to achieve about 100:1 dilution to be safe.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbaerselman View Post
    See http://www.cruising.org.uk/node/16267

    Seems to pull the issues together very well.
    So have I got this right - under this proposed legislation it will be illegal under UK law for me to use red diesel to propel my boat outside UK waters? So regardless of what we may think of Belgian, Dutch or any other country's law, the UK Government is going to stop me using red in their waters! It seems to me that it will be almost impossible for any yacht in the UK to travel outside UK waters this coming season unless they drain their tank of red diesel and throw it away. For most of us it's going to take several seasons to dilute down the red we all have in our tanks to a legal level. This now becomes an isssue for all South Coast sailers as well, not just those of us on the East coast who might want to sail to Belgium or Holland - it's going to be illegal to go to France with red diesel

    Presumably however this will finally persuade UK refuelling stations that they need to offer white diesel to us.

    Having written this I'm hoping I have misinterpreted the proposed legislation, but I don't think so.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windhover View Post
    So have I got this right - under this proposed legislation it will be illegal under UK law for me to use red diesel to propel my boat outside UK waters? So regardless of what we may think of Belgian, Dutch or any other country's law, the UK Government is going to stop me using red in their waters! It seems to me that it will be almost impossible for any yacht in the UK to travel outside UK waters this coming season unless they drain their tank of red diesel and throw it away. For most of us it's going to take several seasons to dilute down the red we all have in our tanks to a legal level. This now becomes an isssue for all South Coast sailers as well, not just those of us on the East coast who might want to sail to Belgium or Holland - it's going to be illegal to go to France with red diesel

    Presumably however this will finally persuade UK refuelling stations that they need to offer white diesel to us.

    Having written this I'm hoping I have misinterpreted the proposed legislation, but I don't think so.
    The RYA sent out a communique stating red would still be legal in international waters, the refuellers have used this to say they won't be changing.

  8. #18
    Twister_Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windhover View Post
    So have I got this right - under this proposed legislation it will be illegal under UK law for me to use red diesel to propel my boat outside UK waters? So regardless of what we may think of Belgian, Dutch or any other country's law, the UK Government is going to stop me using red in their waters! It seems to me that it will be almost impossible for any yacht in the UK to travel outside UK waters this coming season unless they drain their tank of red diesel and throw it away. For most of us it's going to take several seasons to dilute down the red we all have in our tanks to a legal level. This now becomes an isssue for all South Coast sailers as well, not just those of us on the East coast who might want to sail to Belgium or Holland - it's going to be illegal to go to France with red diesel

    Presumably however this will finally persuade UK refuelling stations that they need to offer white diesel to us.

    Having written this I'm hoping I have misinterpreted the proposed legislation, but I don't think so.
    You've got it.

    Which is why it matters that we all protest before the cut-off date for consultations which is March 11 (11 days away) along the lines suggested by the Cruising Association:

    Write to:
    Transport Taxes Team
    HM Revenue & Customs
    Room 1/37
    100 Parliament Street
    London SW1A 2BQ

    and to your MP (find your MP here: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/)

    In all probability your MP won't have a clue what you're talking about, so it might be useful to include a scene-setter like this at the top of your letter:

    "Figures from the British Marine Federation suggest there may be as many as 200,000 UK yachts and motor boats capable of sailing beyond UK waters. The majority of these boats use diesel for their main engine. In the UK, almost 100% of diesel sold in ports and harbours is marked with red dye. This is because commercial users pay less duty than leisure users; red diesel thus equates to cheap diesel. However leisure users pay full duty for red diesel used for propulsion; it's not cheap for us. Some EU countries have decreed this leisure use of marked diesel as illegal under either local or EU law, despite the fact that full duty has been paid. From April 1st HMRC is asking all leisure user purchasing red diesel to sign a declaration acknowledging that red diesel is illegal to use outside of UK waters, thus opening us to prosecution if we are found in EU waters with red diesel being used for propulsion."

    Then get stuck in. The Cruising Association considers you might like to include and elaborate on the following points:

    i) White diesel is not currently available from the vast majority of marine suppliers in harbours and marinas. It is not feasible to install a second tank and pump for white diesel in many of these locations. Where it is feasible, the proposed timescale is not sufficient to make the necessary changes in time.

    ii) White diesel currently available in the UK contains bio-fuel. It has previously been accepted that such bio-fuel can have a seriously detrimental effect on some marine engines. It is known to make worse the problems of `bugs’ in tanks causing blocked filters, break-down to acids leading to engine equipment damage and leakage from fuel component seals, all of which represent significant additional safety risks to boat owners using UK white diesel.

    iii) In the light of the above points, many owners wishing to sail outside of UK waters will be faced with the only alternative of having to purchase red diesel and having to make, knowingly, a false declaration. This is totally unacceptable.

    iv) The measure is also likely to deter foreign boat owners from coming to the UK since, when refuelling here, they will be asked to declare that the fuel will only be used in UK waters, which is patently not the case.

    Let's create a stink!
    Last edited by Twister_Ken; 28-02-12 at 13:40.
    Next time, it'll all be different.

  9. #19
    jimbaerselman's Avatar
    jimbaerselman is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windhover View Post
    So have I got this right - under this proposed legislation it will be illegal under UK law for me to use red diesel to propel my boat outside UK waters?
    Not exactly. the proposal is that when you buy the stuff, you'll agree not to use it outside UK territorial waters. The purpose is to prevent you breaking the law in other EU countries, which you do at the moment. Other EU countries do not permit fuel marked "duty free" to be used in their waters. Gets our government off the hook, but drops you (and re-fuelling visitors from Europe) in the soup.

    This, of course, should create a market for unmarked diesel supplies. Sadly presently available unmarked fuels in UK have shortcomings (added bio fuel) which mean you may have to pay more attention to your fuel system - cleaning, filtering and inspecting for leaks.

    I don't know whether unmarked fuel in Europe also has these shortcomings. In which case the "bio" moan is a bit of a red herring. But if they're clean from bio, how come they've sorted supplies, and we haven't?

    The answer to the latter is probably that our lobbying to keep red diesel (with all those lovely duty free discounts - 40 % heating indeed!) back in "whenever" was far too effective. Too many MPs with motor boats? RYA and CA too good at twisting arms?

    Whatever, it's our mess, and it has to be sorted. If this "condition of sale" comes in on April 1st (indeed!), or now, or next year, makes no difference. Those who take on red diesel in UK could still be fined if they return to Europe waters and are inspected.

    That is, unless HMRC is able to agree at governmental level an exemption for yachts which have re-fuelled in UK. Most unlikely - we've already used up the de-rogation period which allowed (temporarily) "duty paid" receipts to be issued while supplies were re-oriented.
    JimB
    http://jimbsail.info helps Skippers plan Europe Cruises

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twister_Ken View Post
    In all probability your MP won't have a clue what you're talking about, so it might be useful to include a scene-setter like this at the top of your letter:
    Probably not, he's only Financial Secretary to the Treaury. I await his reply with interest.
    ۞

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