The European Commission has sent second warning letters to the UK and seven other EU countries for their failure to adopt an EU directive aimed at providing new car buyers with information about fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, writes Alan Osborn.

The countries were first warned in April, following which Britain and Belgium informed Brussels of draft legislation for implementing the directive but no reply was received from France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain or Portugal.

The deadline for adopting the texts was January 18, this year.

The directive, proposed by the environment commissioner Margot Wallstrom, sets out the information that new car purchasers may demand, including urban, non-urban and average petrol consumption and CO2 emissions.

All Member States had agreed to make this compulsory when they signed up to the directive and there could be "innocent " reasons for the delays, Commission officials said.

However satisfactory re-assurances were required within two months if legal action was to be avoided.

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