Washing out tank is ‘so impractical that it is just not going to happen’

TUV leader Jim Allister has said the removal of the red diesel concession is “riddled with practical difficulties, particularly in the farming context”.

Speaking during member’s statements in the assembly today, Mr Allister said the issue is afflicting the construction industry and wider industry, causing “great fear and potential loss”.

He said the changes, taking effect from 1 April, will “hit our industry in a phenomenal manner, and it will hit us all through the passed-on increases in prices”.

“It is riddled with practical difficulties, particularly in the farming context,” Mr Allister stated.

TUV leader Jim Allister

“Red diesel will be permitted strictly for the farming context, but if a farmer, for example, wanted to oblige a neighbour by taking his digger to dig out something, he would be regarded as a contractor and would have to wash out the tank and fill it with white diesel.

“That is so impractical that it is just not going to happen.

“Even charity tractor runs, ploughing matches and matters such as that will be blighted because they are not strictly farming issues.

“The removal of the concession on red diesel has a serious knock-on effect.

“I call on the government to urgently review it.”

See also: New red diesel rules could ‘spell the end’ of charity tractor runs councillor warnsThe North Antrim assemblyman continued: “In another niche sector there will, from June, be an insistence that those who have pleasure crafts use white diesel to propel them.

“That imposition is being inflicted on us particularly because of the fact that we are still bound by a European court judgement and because of the protocol.

“The protocol, of course, has much to answer for as well in impeding our economy.

“We all know about the problem with our energy costs.

“There could be a five per cent cut immediately from the removal of five per cent VAT from energy costs, but, in Northern Ireland, it would not be allowed to apply because we are subject to a VAT regime that insists on five per cent minimum VAT across its areas of control.

“The protocol is hitting ordinary consumers and ordinary people across the board because of its severe impact on such things.

“Therefore, the sooner we escape and the EU gives up its sovereignty over Northern Ireland on that issue and others, the better,” Mr Allister ended.