AN application to extend the rural fuel rebate scheme to ten new towns – including one in Cumbria and one in Yorkshire – has been submitted by the UK to the European Commision.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said that following a careful assessment of all the evidence, three towns in England – including Kirkby-in-Furness and Hawes -  and seven in Scotland, were judged to have met strict criteria.

These included for example exhibiting pricing characteristics similar to the islands eligible for the existing discount, which the EC have indicated will be critical in their assessment.

In line with European Union law, the UK now needs to secure approval for the expanded scheme from the EC.

The UK is seeking up to a five pence per litre (ppl) cut in fuel duty for the areas selected.

A final decision on the areas in the scheme and the price discount is expected from the EC next year.