Belgium U-turn on red diesel, again
Belgian authorities have once again performed a U-turn on the policy to fine visiting yachts using red diesel. The news follows a spate of fines imposed on British yachts in Belgium over the summer.
In a joint statement from the Belgian Minister for Customs and Minister for the North Sea, it was announced that the fines would not be imposed until there has been an EU meeting on the topic, scheduled for 18 September 2017. The government was concerned that the fines were discouraging yachts from visiting the country, placing its marinas at a competitive disadvantage to those in other EU countries where the fines are not being imposed. The announcement comes after the Cruising Association lobbied the Belgian government on the matter.
Belgian North Sea Ministry spokeswoman Vicky Vangeel said: ‘Since 2007, red diesel in leisure craft has been prohibited on the basis of EU regulations. It is important that there is a uniform approach in the Member States. The issue will be addressed at the next European meeting. Until then, the checks will be suspended.’
Maarten Desloovere, manager at VVW-Nieuwpoort Marina, added: ‘Marinas in Belgium like to welcome all UK sailors, in the past, now and in the future. There still might be checks for paperwork, or even red diesel, but as long as sailors can show that taxes have been paid on the red diesel, there won’t be fines.’
UK yachts in Belgium will be safe from fines for now