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Showmen’s Guild Notice – Red Diesel, limitations of use from 1st April 2022

From 1st April 2022 the use and restrictions on Showmen using red diesel changed. You should be well aware that it is illegal to use red diesel outside the boundaries agreed for Showmen with HM Revenue and Customs, which are specifically and ONLY as follows:

The concessions on red diesel (also known as rebated fuel), which we fought long and hard to maintain, were granted for the use in our sector only as follows:

  • for specific purposes, when using certain machines on a travelling fair or a travelling circus”
  •  A travelling fair or travelling circus is defined by HM Treasury as “one that can be dismantled at least once per year and can be transported from place to place”.
  • This is the specific definition that we have agreed with the Treasury. 
  • The rebated fuel / red diesel concession does Not apply to markets; or to catering in lay-bys; or at events; or at boot markets; or at festivals (although a travelling fair self-contained at an event or at a festival can use it;
  • It remains illegal to use rebated fuel / red diesel in any unauthorised vehicle, including any road-going Showmen’s / Special Vehicle – this is very strictly defined in the new legislation (see the link below)
  • To use red diesel away from a travelling fair or travelling circus (or other “Accepted Uses” such as farming, fishing, boats and trains) is illegal and HM Revenue & Customs will be making  spot-checks.
  • Infringement of this concession from the Treasury is an offence also under Showmen’s Guild Rule 21 (b) (5) and complaints can be laid against those infringing this rule, by a Section Committee or Appeals Committee, regardless of there being a criminal prosecution under way.

Please refer to the detailed Guidance (already sent out) repeated here:


  • Personal identification (with photo ID) as well as proof of current operation of a travelling fair or travelling circus should be provided to fuel suppliers (Registered Dealers in Controlled Oils – RDCOs) who have to account all sale details to HM Revenue and Customs.
  • We are providing a template letter to Sections, to assist members in this regard.
  • Simply being a Showman or a Showmen’s Guild member, just in itself, is not enough, without proof of the use of the red diesel travelling fair or circus.
  • Members can only buy red diesel (etc) for themselves, not others, with the above-described forms of identification and must not assist in any fraudulent misrepresentation by others, to gain unauthorised access to rebated fuel / red diesel.
  • All Guild Members’ co-operation in complying with this legislation is appreciated and is essential so as not to risk the concession being withdrawn altogether by HM Treasury.

If any member has any concerns on the supply and correct legal use of rebated fuel / red diesel; they should contact their Section Office for advice and assistance.

Best wishes for the touring season.

John Thurston, Guild President

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