Will Red Diesel Ban Increase Construction Site Fuel Thefts?

Red Diesel Ban security risk


This week the Farsight CCTV monitoring team foiled an intrusion attempt at a building site in North London. The intrusion was spotted by our eagle-eagled CCTV operators in the early hours of Tuesday morning and the police were called in resulting in apprehension.

This is yet another example of how Farsight’s monitored CCTV solution at construction sites delivers proactive security – deterring and preventing crimes from escalating into damage, theft or worse. Of course, there are retrospective benefits too as the recorded footage along with incident log and other details will prove invaluable for further police investigation of the incident as well as prosecution.

In fact, the CCTV footage from Tuesday night’s incident and our incident log has already been shared with police for further investigation and preparation for prosecution.

This incident is a stark reminder of the persistent security breach threats targeting construction sites across the UK.  Unrelenting criminal gangs and opportunist thieves have construction site firmly in their cross hairs as supply chain delays and other factors continue to push up demand and the value of construction materials, tools and machinery.

We recently published an article highlighting the increased security risks following the post-lockdown crime surge targeting construction sites across the UK. This surge in crime has online news media channels bursting with construction site theft articles like these recent incidents in October:

> TOOLS Stolen in reported burglary from unfinished building in Carlisle

> JCB Digger stolen from building site in Bolton

> Suffolk Police launch appeal after thieves steal digger from building site

> Thieves stole £50,000-worth of copper from a York construction site

Another major issue facing construction sites at the moment is fuel theft.  This has been exacerbated recently by the fuel crisis caused mainly by supply chain delays and HGV driver shortages, but  in fact fuel theft from construction sites is nothing new and could be poised to worsen…

Is there a ‘perfect storm’ coming that will further increase fuel theft from construction sites?

diesel theft


Fuel theft accounts for heavy losses from commercial sectors, including construction – amounting to a staggering £9 million losses from 120,000 fuel theft incidents in 2018. For construction sites optimising security measures to defend against fuel theft is a major concern and one that can literally bring the continuity of a site build to a grinding halt if left unchecked – like these recent incidents:

> Police dog sniffs out red diesel thief hiding under a digger on a Wellingborough building site

> Thieves steal fuel from every machine on construction site in Coventry 

In addition to the existing risks and occurrences of fuel theft, the construction sector will shortly be dealt a further blow.  From the 1st April 2022 a ban on the use of rebated red diesel will kick in. These changes were announced as part of the the UK government’s drive in their 2020 Budget to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Following the April 2022 deadline, most current users of red diesel will have to switch to white diesel instead which is taxed at the full rate – with the intention of ‘reflecting the impact of the emissions they produce’ and encouraging cleaner alternatives to be employed.

These changes will mean that construction industry users of heavy plant machinery and equipment such as non-road mobile machinery like dumpers, cranes and excavators will no longer be able to run on red diesel.  They will also lose the permission to use red diesel for commercial heating and power generation too.

These changes come as fuel costs reach an eight year high with diesel in particular falling just shy of the all time high cost reached in April 2012.  This week the diesel cost hit £1.47 per litre. compared to £0.73p per litre for red diesel.  White diesel attracts 57.95% per litre duty compared to only 11.14% per litre duty on red diesel.

> Find out more about the red diesel ban and how it will affect your business in an article by fuel expert Nicki Holt published by the Construction Index: The lowdown on red diesel rule changes

What will this mean for site security in the construction sector? Scottish Plant answered this question quite succinctly saying, ‘Diesel theft will be the new growth industry’ with the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) saying that axing the red diesel rebate could lead to an increase in fuel theft and further erode already tight margins.

How can you optimise your security to help prevent fuel theft?

security monitoring


Effective CCTV monitoring has become a crucial element to consider when optimising businesses security to protect premises, assets and people. So, how does remote CCTV monitoring work?

In our experience, by combining CCTV monitoring with live, proactive audio warnings can be particularly effective in deterring farm security incidents before they progress. In fact, during 2020 Farsight CCTV operators issued a mammoth 119,901 audio deterrent warnings and progressed almost 10,000 incidents to blue light services demonstrating a proactive security deterrent approach rather than a retrospective one.

As a leading UK based remote monitoring station, Farsight works with security systems installers and business sites across multiple commercial sectors to help protect their premises, assets and people with our range of security monitoring services.  Our services Include:

We can help to protect what’s yours from theft, fire or malicious damage… we’d love to see how we can work with you to optimise your security…contact us below.

Further Resources


construction site security

Farsight has published a comprehensive guide to construction site security. This covers tips on some crucial measures that can keep a construction site secure, including how to:

– Deter individuals

– Detect activity

– Delay actions

– Provide an immediate response

> Read ‘Farsight’s Comprehensive Guide to Construction Site Security’ here