EAST Lancashire farmers are allowed to use red diesel in their tractors if helping to grit and clear snow from public roads.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) made the announcement as the first snow of winter began to fall.

Under normal rules, any vehicle that is being used to clear snow from public roads using a snow plough or similar device is entitled to use red diesel.

However, only vehicles that are constructed or adapted and used solely for spreading material on roads to deal with frost, ice and snow can undertake gritting work while using red diesel.

HMRC said it recognised the vital role played by farmers in helping to keep rural roads clear and recently consulted on a proposed change to the legislation to allow red diesel to be used in tractors while gritting.