TAX officials say red diesel rules will be relaxed if Northumberland farmers are called on for gritting duties.
Under normal circumstances only vehicles designed and used solely for gritting are entitled to use red diesel, meaning farmers who wish to use their tractors to grit public roads for their communities are legally prevented from doing so.
However, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is monitoring the weather conditions and officials say a flexible response is needed.
In the event of a prolonged period of severe weather, they have made plans to relax the rules to allow farmers to take on winter gritting to help keep roads open for access to schools, hospitals and services and prevent rural communities being cut off.
If a temporary relaxation is required a formal announcement will be posted on the HMRC website.
For more information call 0845 010 9000.