From 1 April, event organisers are expected to see their fuel bills rise by around 50%, when the Government begins preventing the use of rebated diesel (known as red diesel) and rebated biofuels in generators and site plant machinery at events.

Red diesel and some biofuels, including hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), are currently taxed favourably in comparison to the white diesel used in road vehicles. The rebated fuels affected by the changes are:

Rebated diesel

Rebated Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO)

Rebated biodiesel and bioblend

Kerosene taxed at the rebated diesel rate

Fuel substitutes

The National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) described the ending of rebates on the fuels as a “stealth tax.”

A NOEA spokesperson said, “Red diesel is a major issue for those using large amounts of power for their events. It is one of a number of expenses that will go up exponentially and needs to be budgeted for or passed back to the consumer. As an industry, our primary objective should be to pass the knowledge and implications on to our community, however we do need to be realistic about how we can influence this policy.”

Association of Independent Festivals CEO Paul Reed said the AIF was lobbying Government to urgently reconsider the removal of tax incentives to use certain biofuels: “These should be maintained at the current rate as a transitional measure to encourage use of greener fuels at festivals. To do otherwise is completely contrary to the Government’s objectives of incentivising energy efficiency and reducing emissions.”

According to Government figures, red diesel usage accounts for 15% of the UK’s total diesel consumption, producing 14 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

Read the wider industry’s reaction to the chancellor’s mini-budget here.