Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has welcomed the UK Government’s decision to backtrack over changes to regulations on the use of red diesel which threatened the continuation of ploughing matches and other activities.
The SNP MSP wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in January to raise concerns over UK Government plans to prevent red diesel being used in ploughing matches.
UK Government Ministers confirmed it was backtracking on these plans in response to a parliamentary question tabled by SNP MP John McNally.
Welcoming the change of heart, Richard Lochhead MSP said:
“This is welcome news for organisers and participants of ploughing matches and other activities that were set to be affected, but the reality is things should never have got to this stage.
“We’ve been here before in 2008 when a previous Tory UK Government was also forced to U-turn on threats to agriculture shows using red diesel.
“Lessons clearly were not learned and a great deal of needless concern has been caused to event organisers and the wider farming community, which was completely avoidable.
“Having raised these concerns on behalf of my own constituents, I am however glad that we’ve now reached a positive outcome for those involved in ploughing matches.
“There’s no doubt this is thanks to pressure from my SNP colleagues in Westminster who have pushed the UK Government hard on this issue, standing up for rural communities in Moray and across the north east.
“I will of course be looking closely at the final details that come forward but hope that ploughing matches and charity events will be able to continue on as before.”