Ten of the 15 European Union (EU) member states have so far failed to bring in national legislation putting into effect the end-of-life vehicles directive agreed in 2000 and could face legal action in the European Court of Justice, the Europe Commission announced Monday, writes Alan Osborn.


The directive has a two-fold aim: to prevent waste from motor vehicles and vehicle components that have reached the end of their life-cycle and to promote vehicle re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery. The measure sets limits on the extent of hazardous chemicals contained in vehicles that act to impede safe disposal and recovery and provides for manufacturer-funded collection systems to ensure that end-of-life vehicles are effectively and safely disposed of.


The European motor industry says these obligations will increase costs for car makers and lead to higher car prices.


The UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Finland have all now been targeted for inaction by Brussels, though officials said that in some cases the necessary legislation had been proposed by governments; final legislation will be examined by the Commission to see whether it complies with the directive, if it does, cases will be dropped.


However, national governments have only two months in which to explain to Brussels how they will comply, or the Commission will be forced to decide whether to go to court on the basis of existing information.


Margot Wallström, environment commissioner, said it had been a “major advance” when the directive was agreed and member states “must now live up to their responsibilities and translate their political will into action.”