Are you prepared for the changes to the use of Red Diesel and other rebated fuels from 1st April 2022?

With the introduction of the restriction of red diesel and other rebated fuels coming into effect this year, we summarise the permissions taking place and give guidance on these changes moving forward.  

  • 01-Mar-2022

The pump industry is expanding and forever growing and with this in mind, we at SPP Pumps work hard continuously to adapt and develop our products and services to provide the best customer service to all our current and potential clients around the world. However, with this industry expansion can come legislation and guidance changes. As a well-known fire pump manufacturer, we are aware of how imperative these are to both the industry and also to our environment.

Taking this into account, as of 1st of April 2022, the UK government has announced that most machines and vehicles will no longer be permitted to use rebated (red) diesel and rebated biofuels. Additionally, rebated fuel use will be limited to certain machines when used for specific purposes. The rebated fuels affected by these government changes are as follows:

  • Rebated (red) diesel
  • Rebated Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO)
  • Rebated biodiesel and bio-blend
  • Fuel substitutes 

But before we go any further, let us explain exactly what red diesel is.

What is Red Diesel?

Red diesel (cherry red in colour) is a regular diesel fuel that is primarily used in off-road vehicles and machinery. It is used in several industries most of all construction, marine and agriculture. The colour of this fuel bears a lot on how it works with machinery such as its coating properties. It is worth noting, however, that the red dye doesn’t actually change any of the fuel properties as such, it is purely how the fuel lubricates machinery.

What has caused this restriction of fuel?

As we know, back in 2019 the UK announced their plan to be net-zero by 2050. This objective includes removing greenhouse gas emissions completely by the year 2050 along with many other environmental targets such as the reduction of air pollution which as we know is a very large hazard to the public here in the UK. As mentioned, red diesel is used primarily for off-road practices yet according to GOV.UK, it accounts for about 15% of all the diesel used in the UK and is responsible for the production of nearly 14 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. These figures highlight the negative impact that these fuels have on our environment. As a result, the government has decided to restrict the use of red diesel and other rebated fuels for many machines and vehicles. This change will make a positive effect on both climate change and the world we live in as a whole. Another step closer to a healthier planet.

What effect does this restriction have on fire protection pumps?

In the case that a diesel engine driven fire pump is installed within or protecting premises that are used for commercial purposes (for the purpose of making a profit), from 1st April 2022, it will be illegal to put rebated fuel into the tank. We understand that users may use up the remaining rebated fuel after the rules in premises being used for commercial purposes. However, they will need to be able to satisfy HMRC officers that the fuel was purchased when the machine was permitted to use it and to have had no reason to believe at the time of that purchase that the fuel would not be used illegally in any generator.

We believe, in the event of any doubt, owners and operators alike should seek advice from the HMRC.

At SPP Pumps, we firmly believe that the best practice should be to remove all rebated fuels and red diesel by 01.04.2022 and replenish with duty paid fuels. This opens up an opportunity for many fuel systems and storage tanks to be cleaned, removing all traces of water build-up, dirt, sediment and microbial growth in stored fuels; all of which can prevent the diesel engine from achieving its optimum performance and, in some cases, causing the engine to fail.   

The importance of clean fuel and its effect on pump performance

Below you can observe samples of diesel fuel in fire pump fuel tanks. Our team found a large percentage of fuel that was contaminated with one or more of the following:

  • Water
  • Sludge
  • Microbial growth
  • Silt/sediment

With contaminated fuel such as these, we cannot guarantee that the pump is going to work when it matters, performing to its optimum level and most importantly improving efficiency over time.

We have recently been asking our customers if they would run their cars on this bad/contaminated fuel? We ask you all the same question.

Please take a look at the samples below:

This fuel sample had a lot of bacteria and visible particulates, this can be seen by its poor  miscibility and dark colour.










The next sample had large particulate contamination from water and signs of a diesel  bug (contamination of the diesel fuel by microbes  such as bacteria and/or fungi).









Here, we can see another sample was taken yet the diesel is so poor that a particle count was not even possible.










In the sample below, we can observe that this diesel is of a much clear and bright
aesthetic appearance as per ISO code standards.

However, it has large floating particulates and a high moisture level.
















Here, we can see the same sample as above but correctly meeting ISO code standards.










How can SPP Pumps help?

We fully grasp the intricacy that this change in legislation will cause within the pump industry. With over 140 years of experience and a global principal in the design, supply and servicing of pumps, specifically renowned fire pump packages, you can be safe knowing that SPP Pumps can assist and provide all our customers with the ongoing support they require. This spans from the removal and environmentally compliant disposal of rebated fuels to the installation of automatic fuel conditioning and cleaning of equipment helping prevent the build-up of dirt and sediment in stored fuels.

For further details on the rebated fuels restrictions and preparing for 1st April 2022, please do take a look at our Guidance on Changes to use of Red Diesel and other Rebated Fuels PDF.

Please do not hesitate to contact our expert team or one of our SPP Pumps service centres for more information on any of the above.

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