A move that could help reduce fuel thefts from farms has been announced.
The UK Government is to bring in a new product to mark red diesel in an attempt to help reduce illegal fuel laundering.
The dye will also be used for marking kerosene primarily used for heating purposes.
The agricultural industry, along with a number of other sectors, such as construction and fishing, benefit from a special concessionary rate of duty on fuel it uses for certain purposes.
The concessionary rates of duty are subject to using the fuel within the limits set down by law – and penalties for illegal use can be draconian, including fines and reclamation of unpaid duty.
Red diesel (rebated fuel) is fuel categorised as controlled oil – it has been dyed red and chemically marked to show it is subject to concessionary duty rates.
Launderers filter the fuel through chemicals or acids to remove the Government marker. The chemicals and acids remain in the fuel and can damage fuel pumps in diesel cars.
The new marker will make rebated fuel much harder for fraudsters to ‘launder’, that is, remove the marker from it, and sell on at a profit.
The Government believes the chosen marker – being produced by the Dow Chemical Company – has proved to be significantly more resistant to known laundering techniques.
It will be implemented in consultation with the oil industry and other sectors and will be used alongside the current marker mix.
The NFU has said it welcomes the move to a more resistant dye to help protect the legitimate use of rebated fuel by the agricultural industry.
The NFU says the move to a more resistant dye could also help to reduce fuel thefts from farms.