The European commission this week started legal proceedings against the UK over its failure to explain why it has not implemented European energy policies.

The commission is to take the UK to the European Court of Justice because it has not accounted for a three-year delay in introducing the Performance of Buildings Directive.

Katrin Prins, the official who drafted the commission's green paper on energy efficiency, said:

"The commission has not received any data from the UK about the implementation. We'll be launching an infringement procedure for non-communication. We are starting the procedure this week."

The UK has already missed the 4 January deadline for turning the directive into law. The provisions in the directive require that whenever a building is constructed, sold or rented, a certificate on its energy performance is made available.

EU member countries are allowed a three-year delay to implement the directive if they can prove they suffer from a shortage of experts and inspectors to handle it.

We’ll launch an infringement procedure this week

Katrin Prins, European commission

If a country chose to delay it had to justify itself by 4 January. The UK failed to do this. Other countries, including Germany and Italy, have fulfilled their obligations.

A spokesperson for the ODPM said: "We're in discussions with the commission on the directive and will notify them of our timetable shortly."

Meanwhile, fears are growing that the final version of the government's Code for Sustainable Homes could be delayed by up to six months.

After months of delays and rows, the ODPM announced last month that a final version would be launched in April. But one source said: "There's no way it will be ready by April."