The extension of the rural fuel rebate scheme will not be enacted until early next year at the earliest, and could be delayed even longer.

Replying to a query from the PRA, Helen Dickinson, deputy director, environment and transport tax at HM Treasury, said: "The extension requires EU approval before we can bring it in, and the application is currently with the European Commission. We’re continuing to do everything we can to get the necessary approvals quickly and to ensure the Commission have all the evidence they need to make their decision."