Treasury officials have indicated it will probably take seven to nine months for the European Commission to make its decision about an extension of the UK’s rural fuel duty rebate scheme. understands that the UK’s recent application to extend the original scheme to 10 new towns in England and Scotland will need to be approved both by the EC itself, and by all 28 member states before the UK can press ahead with the plan.

The current scheme sees a fuel duty rebate of 5p/litre offered to fuel retailers in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, the Islands of the Clyde and the Isle of Scilly, which they must pass on to their customer.

The EC will not just be deciding on the 10 individual towns put forward for inclusion in the new scheme but also on the precise amount of any rebate they will enjoy, assuming they are approved, Treasury officials have indicated. understands that 12 fuel stations have been put forward for approval across the ten new areas out of a total of 36 fuel stations that originally submitted pricing information to the Treasury.

The extension of the rebate, if all 12 are eventually approved, will add around 13,000 motorists to the total covered by the UK’s rural fuel duty rebate.