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New diesel tax on refrigerated vehicles will have devastating impact, Cold Chain Federations warns

Responding to reports in today’s Times that the Chancellor intends to remove the right of refrigerated haulage businesses to use red diesel in their operations, the Cold Chain Federation has warned it will cause serious economic harm.

Chief Executive Shane Brennan said: “Consumers rely on a safe and secure food chain, by removing red diesel from refrigerated vehicles the Chancellor would be imposing devastating, unavoidable, costs on to hard pressed hauliers. 

“This proposal could not come at a worse time for a food chain that has been battered by three years of politically-created uncertainty, planning and re-planning for shifting Brexit scenarios. 

The Cold Chain Federation represents temperature-controlled hauliers in the UK and has been working with government since last summer on a comprehensive joint-plan for reducing harmful emissions from refrigerated vehicles, all of which has been cast into major doubt by this announcement. 

Shane Brennan continued: “Taking action now to remove the ability to use red diesel from critical industries is not the answer to air quality concerns. By imposing this sudden shock to operating costs would have exactly the opposite effect, making it even harder for businesses to afford new, cleaner vehicles and equipment and keeping older ‘dirtier’ equipment on the road for longer.

“Our proposals, that have been discussed with Ministers and Officials for a number of months have been about agreeing a plan that would fit effectively with the timeframes necessary for developing emissions-free technologies out of trial-phase into full operation; giving businesses time to invest in new alternatives in a way that fits with natural lifecycles of existing fleet; and providing the infrastructure that is necessary for diesel alternative like electric power. 

“None of these things are in place today and so a change on red diesel rules is just a cynical tax grab that piles the pressure on ordinary businesses trying to serve our communities and economy."

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