Highlands & Islands

Rural fuel discount scheme for Scotland and England delayed

Fuel pump
Image caption The fuel discount was introduced in the Scottish islands and the Isles of Scilly in March 2012

Plans to offer fuel duty discounts to motorists in some rural mainland areas have been delayed.

Ten rural communities in mainland Scotland and England were earmarked last month for a possible 5p a litre reduction in fuel duty.

But communities in parts of the Highlands and Wales complained that they had been missed out.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has said more work will be done on the proposals.

Responding to a parliamentary question from South Down MP Margaret Ritchie, he said it would now be next year before permission was sought from the European Commission to implement the discount.

Mr Alexander said: "Further work is needed to ensure that we have all the information that is necessary to submit the application.

"That will be the subject of a supplementary piece of work and we will submit the application early in the new year."

At the moment the scheme applies to Scottish islands and the Isles of Scilly. It was introduced to the islands in March 2012.

The 10 new areas are Acharacle, Achnasheen, Appin, Carrbridge, Dalwhinnie, Gairloch and Strathpeffer in the Highlands.

Kirkby-in-Furness in Cumbria, Hawes in North Yorkshire and Lynton in Devon are also included.

Highland Council's transport spokesman, Graham Phillips, has said parts of Sutherland should have been included.

Five remote areas of Wales which had been earmarked for the discount scheme also failed to make the list.

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