The association had issued guidelines for its members ahead of new legislation on April 1, which will remove the construction sector’s right to use red diesel and discount biodiesel. But with the situation in Ukraine escalating, he is now asking the government to delay the implementation of this legislation.
Scottish Plant Owners Association chairman Callum Mackintosh said: “The removal of the construction sector’s right to use red diesel and cut price biodiesel is, I believe, the first in a series of changes major events that will affect our industry and our environment forever. As we do all we can to help members prepare for this major change, I think the government should revise its plan in light of the escalating situation in Ukraine.
“Fuel prices have soared in recent days to as high as £1.50 + VAT (£1.80) per liter for white diesel in parts of the UK. This is another hammer blow for the plant industry. We simply cannot sustain this brutal fuel price inflation and the industry urgently needs a postponement of the April 1 implementation date. The SPOA therefore wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking for a delay.
The guidelines, issued to members and posted on the trade association’s website, have been drawn up in conjunction with HM Revenue & Customs and walk members through a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for the changes.
SPOA said what plant owners and operators need to know at a glance is that:
- Businesses that currently use red diesel but will no longer be entitled to it after April 1 should therefore plan to empty their vehicles and machinery of fuel and deplete existing stocks in storage by that date.
- After April 1, companies must always check the fuel in the tank before starting to operate. This can often be done visually at the water separator. If red diesel is found, companies should not use the plant or equipment until they have flushed the tank and refilled with the correct fuel, and evidence should be kept proving this has been done .
- Companies should ensure they have the following documents if HMRC needs to assess whether the plant or equipment has been filled with the correct fuel: receipts or invoices for the purchase of fuel, plant hire contracts or equipment, race plans and driver/operator time sheets .
Rebated fuel will only be permitted for use in vehicles and machinery used for certain defined agricultural, horticultural or forestry purposes.
HMRC does not allow any ‘dual tank’ fuel system allowing a vehicle/machine to switch between fuel with and without discount.
The SPOA guide also contains detailed information, including an analysis of alternative fuels.
Mackintosh added: “These guidelines have been circulated to our members and can be downloaded from our website. I urge members, and even non-members, to take the time to read it. For example, there are plenty of tips on what steps you can take to help prevent fuel theft, a huge concern for the industry. SPOA is here to help, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have.
“Regardless of any delay in implementing the legislation, the removal of the right to red diesel should spur SPOA members and the industry as a whole to operate more efficiently, consider alternative fuels, take into account our impact on the environment and the future of our industry. It might even be the catalyst we need to raise our own prices. Alternative fuel equipment in the very near future will cost more – something between 15% and 200% – so something has to change.