TRACTOR DRIVERS taking to the public highway for charity road runs can definitely continue to use red diesel.

In a further clarification on the red diesel exemptions for agriculture under the new HMRC duty regime that kicks in on April 1, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Helen Whately MP, has explicitly included charity tractor runs in the list of activities that are eligible to use the low duty fuel.

In a letter to North East MP David Duguid this week, Ms Whately stated: "The Government considers that running or participating in events which provide information and education that benefit agriculture are purposes relating to agriculture, and this includes taking part in charitable activities that promote these industries.

"Examples of such events are agricultural shows, ploughing matches and charity tractor runs," wrote Ms Whately.

Mr Duguid, Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, met with Ms Whately recently to ask for confirmation of the activities that farmers could legally undertake using low duty fuel.

“Agriculture is a key industry in Banff and Buchan which is why I’ve sought and obtained full clarification on the list of exemptions for red diesel," said Mr Duguid. “I’m particularly pleased to receive confirmation that red diesel will be allowed to be used for charity tractor runs, on top of confirmation I received last month for agricultural shows and ploughing matches.

“The UK Government has also acknowledged the role farmers have when extreme weather events occur by continuing to allow the use of red diesel for this. I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure Banff and Buchan farmers have all the information they need when the changes come into effect on April 1.”