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EU Headlights Policy

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the potential effect on (a) carbon emissions and (b) fuel consumption of the EU policy of vehicles travelling with headlights on at all times. (95678)

The European Commission’s consultation paper on the impact of daylight running lights (DRL) stated that DRLs would increase the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of a vehicle by up to 1.5 per cent. We think that this estimate is roughly correct. The impact of an EU-wide policy would be less than this; a portion of driving is at night anyway, many member states already have mandatory rules on the use of DRLs, and specially designed DRLs (rather than dipped beam headlamps) can be much more energy efficient.

The UK opposes both mandatory fitment of dedicated DRLs and compulsory daytime use of dipped beam headlamps, due to concerns about increased risk to vulnerable road users (including motorcyclists), and increased costs to motorists, as well as the environmental impacts. We have expressed these concerns at international fora and will reiterate them in our response to the European Commission consultation.