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Scottish MP confirms red diesel use can continue in charity tractor runs

Red diesel use will continue to be permitted in charity tractor runs.
Red diesel use will continue to be permitted in charity tractor runs.

Farmers, crofters and agricultural contractors will be able to continue using red diesel in charity tractor runs, a Scottish MP has confirmed.

Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan David Duguid said he had received confirmation that red diesel use can continue in charity tractor runs in a letter from Exchequer Secretary Helen Whately.

It follows a meeting between the two MPs last month, where Mr Duguid was given verbal reassurances that red diesel use will continue to be permitted at ploughing matches and agricultural shows.

The farming industry and politicians had been concerned about the impact of the new red diesel rules, which come into force on April 1, with SNP MP for Gordon, Richard Thomson, writing to the Treasury this week asking for it to allow red diesel use in charity tractor runs.

There had been concerns the new rules would impact ploughing matches.

The chairman of a leading north-east ploughing match had warned banning the use of red diesel in ploughing matches could lead to the loss of vital agricultural skills, while Scottish Vintage Tractor and Engine Club chairman, Bryan Williamson, said the proposed rules would affect charity events.

The Treasury has now confirmed that this will be permitted and in her letter to Mr Duguid, Ms Whately said the use of red diesel in events and charitable activities which promote agriculture can continue.

“Rebated fuel can also be used to travel to and from where the vehicles or machines are to be used for these activities,” added Ms Whately in her letter.

“HMRC has also always taken a pragmatic approach to farmers offering their tractors to help local communities clearing up after extreme weather events and will continue to do so.”

Mr Duguid welcomed the news and said: “I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure Banff and Buchan farmers have all the information they need when the [red diesel rule] changes come into effect on April 1.”

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