Q. What vehicles can I run on red diesel?
A. Red diesel can only be used on the road by exempted vehicles. These include:
- Tractors or light agricultural vehicles – including self-propelled harvesters – used on public roads solely for agriculture, horticulture or forestry purposes, and for cutting verges, hedges or trees bordering public roads
- Other vehicles, licensed for limited use, used only for agriculture, horticulture or forestry purposes and used on public roads only in passing between different areas of land occupied by the same person, providing that the distance between the two areas does not exceed 1.5km
- Works trucks for carrying goods in the same way as the above, but subject to a limit of 1km between private premises occupied by different people
- Mowers and agricultural engines
- Snow clearing vehicles and gritters when in use or travelling to and from the place of use, clearing snow and ice from public roads
- Mobile cranes and diggers when in use or travelling to and from the place of use, providing they do not carry any unnecessary load
- Road construction vehicles, subject to certain conditions
Q. I am an agricultural contractor. Are there any restrictions on when I can use red diesel?
A. To be able to use red diesel the nature of the work must be agricultural, horticultural or for forestry and the contractor must be acting in the same capacity as the farmer would. The vehicle must be registered as being in agricultural use.
Q. Is there a limit on how far I can drive with an agricultural vehicle?
A. You can travel as far as you like on red diesel providing you are performing a task which is solely agricultural.
Q. Is there a limit on how far I can travel as a nonagricultural contractor?
A. If you are registered and using white diesel there is no distance restriction.
Q. What are the requirements for vehicles registered for non-agricultural use?
A. Any vehicle carrying out non-agricultural operations must be taxed, run on white diesel, and may need to have a tachograph installed. The driver may require an HGV licence, trailers must be plated and tested by the DVLA and the owner must hold an operator’s licence.
Q. When would I need an operator’s licence?
A. An operator’s licence is required for carrying goods in vehicles used for hire or reward.
Q. What are the penalties for using the wrong diesel?
A. Civil penalties range from £250 to £500, plus possible seizure of the tractor and an assessment for back duty on the difference between the red diesel and white diesel duty rates for the period of misuse.
Q. What is the tax rate for red diesel compared with white diesel?
A. Red diesel is taxed at 4.22p/litre, white diesel at 53.27p/litre, and Ultra Low Sulphur diesel at 47.10p/litre.
Q. Can I swap between red and white diesel by using two separate tanks?
A. No. Carrying two diesel tanks which are both capable of connecting to the engine is illegal.
Q. Can I tow a digger on a low-loader to use on another farm?
A. No – this is classified as haulage. But if the tractor is to be used as well, or is needed to tow another vehicle back for an agricultural activity, then it can be run on red diesel.
Q. Can I take scrap metal from my farm to the dump?
A. As long as it is scrap of an agricultural nature, for example disposing of an old barn or milking parlour to clear the site for another agricultural purpose, then red diesel can be used.
Q. Can I use my low loader to transport farm machinery from one farm to another?
A. No. This is classified as non-agricultural haulage, and the vehicle must comply with non-agricultural regulations.
Q. Can I haul grain from my arable farm to my livestock enterprise; or to the local mill; or to my neighbour’s farm?
A. Yes, to the livestock enterprise and the mill. Haulage to your neighbour’s farm depends on the reason. If you have hired storage from, or are selling to your neighbour that is fine. But if you are moving it as a favour to your neighbour who the crop belongs to, you must not use red diesel.
Q. Can I supply red diesel to other farmers?
A. Anyone supplying or dealing inred diesel and paraffin must be approved by HM Revenue & Customs (formerly Customs & Excise). However, this does not apply to those who obtain these oils for their own use. For example, if a farmer buys red diesel or paraffin for his own farming activities but occasionally hires or lends machinery to other farmers, with an operator, then they do not need to be approved. However, if the loan/hire is so frequent as to constitute a machinery hire business, the farmer must be approved under the Registered Dealers in Controlled Oils Scheme.
Buying groups which act as agents in the transaction do not need to be registered, but those which take ownership of the oil before selling it on must be registered in the scheme.
Q. If I have surplus soil or hardcore can I haul it to a neighbour for his own use?
A. No. However, if you are moving the soil or hardcore from one part of your farm to another, that is allowed as an agricultural activity.
Q. What is the maximum speed limit for agricultural vehicles?
A. The maximum speed that an agricultural motor vehicle can be driven is 20mph, although certain high-speed tractors (JCB Fastracs) can be driven at up to 40mph as long as they are fitted with ABS-equipped air-brakes, fully suspended axles, high-speed rated tyres, a speedometer
Q. Is there a maximum load I can carry?
A. The gross weight of a trailer, tractor and load must not exceed 24,390kg on the road, whether for agricultural or non-agricultural use.
Q. Do my agricultural vehicles require an MOT?
A. No. But certain authorities are looking at introducing an MOT-type system for tractors so it may be prudent to have vehicle health check stickers in your cab as a reminder to carry out daily checks and regular servicing. These are voluntary but may help to prevent an MOT system being introduced.
Q. How much is the road tax for non-agricultural vehicles?
A. This depends upon the taxation category, but general haulage is £350 a year.
Q. What are the rules for storing red and white diesel on farm?
A. Each product requires a separ-ate storage tank and hose/gun outlet. Each tank should be clearly marked, with the one containing red diesel showing a statement to the effect: “Not to be used as road fuel”.
- For more information on this subject and other related issues contact HM Revenue & Customs on 0845 010 9000 or www.hmrc.gov.uk.