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‘No comment’ on diesel threat

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By Mike Travers

The Hire Association Europe has revealed that not a single member has responded to the consultation document outlining the UK Government’s plan to cut the tax rebate for red diesel, the industry’s lifeblood.

The fuel will not be permitted for use in construction equipment beyond April 1, 2022 unless the government changes its mind or alters its proposal.

The HAE is coordinating a response from trade bodies but with the October deadline looming for responses to the document, it said no member comments had been received. It has urged companies to contact its policy and public affairs executive Mark Bradshaw, who will draft a final response, before September 18,

HAE took part in a recent Treasury/HMRC online briefing on the proposed changes which will be outlined in a discussion between officials and trade associations on September 3.

If the rebate goes the effects will be felt across the industry.

The March Budget announced the removal from most sectors of the entitlement to use red diesel, meaning that affected businesses will need to use fuel taxed at the standard rate for diesel, a move that “…more fairly reflects the negative environmental impact of the emissions they produce”.

The government argues that more expensive diesel should provide businesses with a much stronger incentive to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery, to look for more environment-friendly alternatives, or to just use less fuel.

When the proposal was announced Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, warned diesel theft would become “the new growth industry” from 2022 and CECA‘s director of external affairs, Marie-Claude Hemming, added: “This change will also lead to a significant escalation in fuel theft as there will be no way of distinguishing between gas oil and diesel used by road vehicles and it is likely criminals will seek out construction plant as an easy target.”

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©Scottish Plant.  Article posted 25/8/2020