The CLA has welcomed a move by HMRC to allow farmers to use red diesel in their tractors to help grit and clear snow from the region's roads this winter.
Under normal rules any vehicle that is being used to clear snow from public roads using a snow plough or similar is entitled to use red diesel, though only vehicles intended solely for dealing with ice, frost or snow could previously conduct such work. However, HMRC recently launched a consultation on proposed changes to these rules in light of work conducted in past years by farmers.
Farmers working in rural regions have often been praised for their work to keep roads open in challenging conditions. Now, HMRC says it has adopted a "pragmatic" approach and will permit tractors on public roads clearing snow or gritting to provide access to schools, hospitals, and remote communities cut off by ice and snow to use red diesel.
The move has been hailed by CLA South East Director Robin Edwards. He said: "HMRC's decision makes total sense. The recognition of the important work that farmers do for our communities in freezing weather is encouraging. The CLA is pleased that HMRC has taken a level-headed approach on this issue - some areas of our region are preparing for what looks to be a bitterly cold few weeks ahead."