HM Revenue and Customs Brief 45/11
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Issued 4 January 2012
Use of rebated fuel in vehicles undertaking snow clearance
and gritting work
In October 2011 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) conducted
a review which considered whether there was scope for the extension of
rebated (red) diesel entitlement to vehicles undertaking certain
community/charity activities. One aspect of community work considered
was the use of tractors to perform road gritting activities.
The review recommended an extension to the current gritting
rules to allow tractors to undertake such activity. Consequently, early
in 2012, HMRC will begin the formal process of consulting stakeholders
to determine whether legislation should be introduced to change the
rules on the types of vehicles eligible to use red diesel for gritting.
Pending any legislative change, the rules as they now stand
will continue to apply but, if, as in the last two winters, the UK
experiences a period of sustained severe weather this winter, HMRC will
adopt its previously successful policy of temporarily relaxing
enforcement of those rules. If such a relaxation is considered
necessary, HMRC will make the appropriate announcement on its website.
Schedule 1 of the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979 lists the
categories of excepted vehicle. Excepted vehicles are those which are
entitled to use rebated fuel. There are excepted vehicle categories for
'Snow clearing vehicles' and 'Gritters'. The rules for qualification in
each of these categories differ and are explained in the following
The law says that a snow clearing vehicle is an excepted
vehicle when it is being used or going to or from the place where it is
to be or has been used for the purpose of clearing snow from public
roads by means of a snow plough or similar device.
This puts no restriction on the type of vehicle that can be
used. Therefore, for example, a farm tractor with a snow plough fitted
is entitled to use red diesel for clearing snow from the public road.
The law says that a vehicle qualifies in this category if it
is constructed or adapted, and used, solely for the conveyance of
machinery for spreading material on roads to deal with frost, ice or
Qualification is restricted to vehicles designed and used
only for gritting. Consequently, vehicles towing gritting equipment
mounted on trailers or with detachable gritting equipment do not
qualify. A farm tractor, for example, which is neither constructed nor
used solely for such work, is not entitled to use red diesel for
gritting public roads.
If you have any doubt about whether your vehicle qualifies to
use red diesel, please phone the Excise and Customs Helpline on 0845
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-01-07 13:24:16 in Tax Articles