Changes to Red Diesel and how this will impact the arboriculture sector

From 1st April 2022, red diesel (rebated diesel) and rebated biofuels will no longer be allowed to be used as they are currently.

This is due to a change announced by the UK Government in 2021 that it would be removing the entitlement to use red diesel from most sectors. However, certain exemptions apply to the arboriculture sector; HM Revenue & Customs applies the following definitions to these sectors:

  • Agriculture – the science and art of cultivating the soil, growing, and gathering in crops, and rearing of livestock.
  • Horticulture – the science and art of cultivating or managing gardens, including the growing of flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Forestry – the science and art of forming and cultivating forests and the management of growing timber.

As a result of these changes and the scope of who is legally allowed to use red diesel, Timberwolf recognise that many customers might be wondering how this change will affect them. In support of this, Timberwolf recommends that all customers who might be affected by this change read and become familiar with the government guidance, available here.

In addition to the guidance from the government, we also recommend referring to The Arboricultural Association’s information, available here. 

As summarised by the Arboricultural Association, this is their view about exemptions from the stated sectors:

“The overall picture is somewhat confused. The implication from the government guidance is that when engaged in certain commercial tree work activities – such as managing trees alongside transport infrastructure or in housing estates, schools, or churchyards (to name but a few) then arboriculture is not exempt from the new legislative changes.

However, when undertaking tree work in a domestic garden or public park, and when commercially producing trees ‘for ornament’, then these operations are exempt from the restrictions on the use of red diesel.

Any further updates will be posted on this page.

Update 11th April 2022:

The Arboricultural Association has secured a meeting with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs to discuss the impact of the recent changes to red diesel exemptions.