Car adverts on billboards will have to include information on fuel economy and carbon emissions by the end of this week. The move comes after pressure from lobby groups forced the Department for Transport (DfT) to revise its guidelines.
The changes means the DfT has closed what was effectively a loophole in its advertising guidelines. Previously, the DfT had said that an EU ruling requiring car manufacturers to include information related to carbon emissions and fuel consumption did not apply to billboards as they were “primarily graphical”.
But lobby groups Friends of the Earth and the Alliance Against 4×4’s threatened legal proceedings and the DfT admitted it had wrongly interpreted the EU guidelines and agreed that billboards should be covered by the legislation.
In a letter to Friends of the Earth, the DfT said it had “concluded our guidance is incorrect in respect of primarily graphic material”.
The DfT says it would give car advertisers a period of “grace” to make amendments to existing billboards but that it expects future advertising to be compliant.
The EU is currently carrying out a public consultation on proposals to introduce further requirements on giving greater prominence to carbon emission information in all car advertising.