From 1st April 2022, rebated diesel, known as red diesel, and red biofuels can no longer be used as they once were in the construction industry.  In 2020, the government announced that it would restrict entitlement to use red diesel and associated rebated biodiesel to achieve its climate change and air quality objectives.

Red diesel accounts for approximately 15% of all diesel in the UK and is responsible for the production of almost 14 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.  As the first major economy in the world, in June 2019, the UK Government passed laws guaranteeing carbon-neutral by 2050; to achieve its ambitious targets, at Budget 2021, the government announced restricted entitlement of the use of red diesel, with exceptions for agriculture, rail and non-commercial heating.  Ministers hope that by restricting the use of red diesel, specifically in the construction sector, will encourage users to invest in cleaner alternatives or otherwise use less fuel.

An industry reeling from rising material and labour costs, the construction industry – very simply – can no longer benefit from the more cost-effective red diesel source to fuel machinery.  The implications of the red diesel ban for the construction industry is colossal, commercially, and operationally; the cost of cleaner, standard – or white – diesel alternative is soaring meaning that companies, in the current climate, will pay approximately 47p a litre more for their fuel.  To manage this, the government urge business owners to retain purchase receipts to prove the use of white diesel on their projects.

Construction sites are home to large value plant, machinery, and materials – and now, white diesel.  As many companies prepare to pay thousands more under new restrictions, another worrying factor for business owners is that by storing the more expensive clean diesel leaves sites vulnerable and increases opportunity for theft.

Since restrictions were imposed at the beginning of April, an alarming volume of construction companies have reported high value thefts from their sites with authorities now stressing the importance of sufficient construction site security as projects are targeted by criminals.

James Penman of James Penman Plant Hire spoke to Construction News after suffering two break-ins on consecutive weekends culminating in the theft of around £1,000.00 of fuel being stolen from the company’s yard:

[White diesel] is more expensive to replace than red diesel, and the fact that it is white is also motivating the theft.”

[The company] have never had a break-in before the ban but now [they’ve] had two this month.  The government doesn’t realise the impact this ban is going to have for the industry”. *

Panthera Group is a complete construction site set-up company operating nationally, offering perimeter hoarding and fencing, security lighting and cost-effective construction site security including CCTV and Access Control.  The company’s security specialists can provide a range of cost-effective systems for every construction site, which can be installed at just 24 hours’ notice, and will benefit from on-going management and monitoring.

Mark McGoldrick, Director of Security at Panthera says:

“I believe that everyone chooses how to approach this problem in their own way. If you’re proactive and get security in place, you can focus on your project. If you’re reactive, you end up focusing on repairing or replacing unprotected items “

The government acknowledge that there is various, unique circumstances, including the war in Ukraine that are directly increasing fuel prices – with this, fuel duty rates have been cut by 5p for 12 months.

To find out more about site security for your project, please contact our specialists on 0845 165 1234 or email