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Posted by John King
The government has launched a public consultation on whether or not tractors should be permitted to use red diesel when they grit the roads in rural areas.
Currently, only purpose-built gritters can use the low-grade fuel, but HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said it may change this rule so it applies to tractors too.
It would mean tractor drivers could benefit from the lower cost of the rebated diesel when they go out to grit roads during winter, rather than having to fill up their tanks with the ordinary, costlier form.
HMRC's Steven Clarke said conditions during the past two winters have been so severe that agricultural vehicles had to be drafted in to provide assistance using red diesel.
"We are now considering whether we need to change the law to formalise this and make it permanent," he remarked.
Members of the public interested in commenting can view the consultation document on the HMRC website and must have sent in their views by October 5th.
Councils have a responsibility to treat Priority A roads with grit before surface temperatures fall below zero degrees C, which has proved a considerable task in recent times.
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