The European Commission wants all new passenger cars and vans to have lights that stay on while the engine is running. The directive which is being sent to the European Parliament for final approval would come into force in February 2011.
Tory transport spokesman Timothy Kirkhope said daylight running could make roads more dangerous, he says if all cars have lights on there is a concern that drivers start looking out for lights rather than pedestrians and cyclists. The AA state that the fuel bill for a typical family car would rise by £68 per year and by as much as £160 a year for less efficient larger models. Green campaigners also believe the ruling would be a waste of fuel.
Britain has opposed the measure but is unable to block it because a majority of other EU nations were in favour. The UK does not suffer from short hours of daylight as in Northern Europe. Daytime running lights are compulsory in Scandinavian countries and in 2006 Austria Croatia and the Czech Republic followed suit.