Hazzard Says Red Diesel Rebate Removal Will Hurt Builders

Removal of red diesel rebate will hit hard says Hazzar

South Down Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has said the local construction industry faces significant hikes in fuels costs when the red diesel rebate will be removed by the British Government in April.

The South Down MP was speaking following a meeting with a number of local construction firms, who described the upcoming hike in costs as a “huge cliff edge” and has warned that unless the British Government halt the move, many local workers will be hit hard. 

Mr Hazzard said: “Back in 2020 the British Government announced it would be banning the use of red diesel and rebated biodiesel in most sectors from this April in an effort to meet emission targets.

“Whilst there are exemptions for vehicles used for agriculture, horticulture, forestry and fishing, all other sectors including construction, manufacturing, quarrying, haulage, road maintenance, logistics, and waste management will lose their entitlement to use red diesel.

Chris Hazzard MP concerned about the coming high in diesel costs for the construction industry when the rebate for red diesel is removed fro some sectors in April across the UK.

“This change in the law could not have come at a worse time for the industries affected as the cost of raw materials and associated construction costs continue to rise.

“Understandably the motivation in introducing a ban on red diesel is to encourage the use of greener alternatives, however we have seen little evidence of guidance, support or incentive from either the British Government, or the Department for the Economy locally at Stormont, to help with the switch.

“Those affected are now having to plan for a significant rise in costs; not merely to purchase the much more expensive white diesel, but to flush out their fuel systems and upgrade security measures to ensure the much more lucrative fuel does not become an increased target for theft.”

Mr Hazzard added: “In the absence of a u-turn from the British government, all sectors affected need urgent support and advice in making the switch to white diesel, and encouraged as much as possible to make the permanent switch to non-fossil alternatives in the long run.

“However, we also need to see clear and practical advice on the use of diesel in machinery across all sectors; especially as this law contains complex exemptions for farm machinery.

“Our local construction and agricultural industry require clear guidance on record keeping and a pragmatic approach to enforcement.

“There also should be consideration given to a period of flexibility from authorities, as current requirements to maintain minimum fuel stock levels for operational purposes means fuel which has had full duty paid may be put into and mixed with existing stocks of rebated fuel in the tank for many months still to come.”