Revenue and Customs bosses ready to relax rules for farmers

REVENUE and Customs bosses are monitoring the Met Office forecasts of extreme weather for parts of the UK, so that they are ready to respond to the needs of farmers who use ‘red diesel’ in their tractors when gritting public roads for their local communities.

Under normal circumstances, only vehicles designed and used solely for the purpose of gritting are entitled to use red diesel. Consequently, farmers who wish to use their tractors to grit public roads for their local communities are legally prevented from doing so.

A spokesman for the service said: “We understand that extreme weather requires a flexible response and HMRC have made plans to relax the rules on gritting temporarily, in the event of the UK experiencing a prolonged period of severe weather.

“If a temporary relaxation of the rules is required a formal announcement will be made on HMRC’s website.”

Under existing rules, any vehicle, including a tractor, that clears snow from public roads by means of a snow plough or similar device, is allowed to use ‘red diesel’ when doing so.

Farmers are often best placed to deliver the skills and equipment needed to keep rural roads open, provide access to local schools and hospitals, and prevent remote communities from becoming isolated by blizzards.

Further information can be obtained by calling the Excise and Customs Helpline on 0845 010 9000.