What's New
Speeches & Articles
Newsletter - Mar 2012
Contact Information
Photo Album
Parliamentary Highlights
MEPs' Transparency

The Freedom Association
Visit the
Freedom Association

Thanks a watt for ridiculous ban on light bulbs, Conservative MEP tells EU

Thursday, 27th August 2009

East Midlands Conservative MEP, Roger Helmer, has today called on the European Commission to rethink its ban on incandescent light bulbs.

From the 1st September, shops will no longer be able to buy in 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, although present inventories can be sold until they run out. The commission intends to phase out all incandescent bulbs by 2012 but concerns have been raised that energy-saving light bulbs can be impractical, and they can exacerbate health conditions.

Mr Helmer has written to the European Commission asking it to reconsider the immediate draconian ban, which could spell misery for epilepsy and anxiety sufferers. Instead he has called on the commission to encourage the take-up of energy-saving bulbs which have already seen their market share increase significantly in the UK. For example, in the last quarter of 2008, 12.3 million were sold compared with 8.9 million in the same period a year earlier.

Mr Helmer said:

"I'm all for encouraging people to switch to more energy efficient bulbs but taking light bulbs off our shelves is overzealous.

"Figures already show that households are voluntarily switching to energy-saving bulbs. If the benefits of having energy-saving bulbs are so obvious, surely people will be able to choose them over incandescent bulbs, without the need for a ban which is to the detriment of those people who rely on traditional bulbs.

"We should provide consumers with sufficient information and trust them to make the right decision about the type of bulb that is appropriate for them, and the impact it may have on the environment.

"There are practical reasons why energy-saving bulbs are not always appropriate. They do not work in all types of lighting fixture or with dimmer switches and the light that they throw can be poor. The technology for these new bulbs is evolving and the policy should evolve alongside their development.

"The blanket ban could spell misery for thousands of epilepsy and anxiety sufferers who are adversely affected by energy-saving bulbs.

"I have written to the European Commission to seek a reversal of this draconian ban.

"People should be encouraged to switch but forcing them to do so is not the solution. We live in Europe not the Soviet Union."