If energy needs to be saved, there are good ways to do it.
                                                               Government product regulation is not one of them

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

UK Parliament Debate on Light Bulbs

Post revised and updated May 24

Thank you to Dr. Robert Hanson for this information

Private Members Debate
Yesterday 22nd May in Westminster Hall,
a chamber of the UK parliament,
on future implications of the EU light bulb regulations:
video archive direct link

The issue, raised by Edinburgh MP Sheila Gilmore, covered the health issue arising out of banning incandescent bulbs, in particular problems with fluorescent bulb usage such as UV light and other electromagnetic radiation.

The All Party Committee on lighting referred to, embedded document (original source):

Regarding Edinburgh MP Gilmore, fellow Edinburghian... Edinburgher... (there is a whole debate online about what people from Edinburgh are called) Kevan has covered something similar before, on Savethebulb.org in June 2011

UK Parliament Early Day Motion on Incandescent Lamps

MP Sheila Gilmore has proposed Early Day Motion 1878 asking MPs to address the issue of continued availability of incandescent lamps for people suffering from diseases aggravated by the spectral and other properties of CFLi energy saving lamps.

During the consultation process the issue of medically significant sensitivity was discussed at length and assurance was given that there was no intention that people who would suffer as the result of using CFLi would be prevented from getting incandescent lamps. It was, however, left to the individual member states to arrange their legislation to allow for this. Needless to say most have not. As you can see from the post elsewhere about ‘Heatballs’ some countries, Germany in this case, are being quite draconian, preventing the import and sale of incandescent lamps.

This motion will hopefully address the issue of availability of incandescent lamps however does nothing to ensure the long term availability as there has to be a sufficient volume of sales to support the manufacture of them.

Readers from the UK are urged to write to or email their MP asking them to sign the early day motion to get some Parliamentary action on this issue. You can find out who your MP is on this website:



Kevan Shaw


While understanding those with medical difficulties,
it is a little unfortunate that it is the only objection raised, and that in the process (perhaps to help curry favor) spokespeople generally give in about how "great it otherwise is to have the legislation to save the planet", unnecessarily playing into the hands of the legislators given the lack of overall energy savings as referenced.

In a typical ensuing exchange of pleasantries, the government representatives (in this case Environment Minister Richard Benyon) predictably counter how some alternative incandescent halogens supposedly are allowed, or how appropriate LEDs are coming, and the like.

As it happens, future halogen-type incandescent availability for ordinary use is in doubt looking at both EU and US legislation, but even if the alternatives were there, there are extensive arguments as to why the regulations in themselves are unnecessary and wrong, as covered in the Deception rundown.

This includes the typical "19% of electricity is used for lighting"
raised by the Minister in the above video debate:
The 19% figure includes much lighting irrelevant to incandescent replacement (also remembering that replacement lights use electricity too) such that only around 1% of grid electricity is saved, without going into additional lifecycle (manufacture, transport, recycling) energy use, as referenced in the link.

Given all the other reasons against regulations listed and referenced,
the health side-effects of incandescent replacements should not be the only issue raised:
Arguably it would strengthen - not weaken - their case if the health campaigners did not give in so easily on the other aspects...

Update 24 May:
As pointed out in the comments (thank you Steven),
looking more overall at saving energy and emissions,
then even if a light bulb policy was held as necessary,
stimulated market competition as best option, or as a second option taxation that can help pay for price lowering subsidies on alternatives, are both better than regulations:
Not just to keep choice, and not just to lower energy use and emissions, but to do so at the lowest possible cost to government and consumers - and regardless of whether you are a right wing (market) or left wing (tax) politician.
A more comprehensive look at alternative light bulb taxation and market policies with examples, Ceolas.net#li23x.


Anonymous said...

Particularly apt politically, the suggestion from the Deception list how stimulated market competition and taxation paying for price lowering subsidies are better options whether those politicians are right wing or left wing

Lighthouse said...

Thanks Steven, see post update

John McDowell said...

About committee policy "to promote improved application of lighting technologies" like you say that does not mean they have to save energy if they have other advantages.

An energy saving lamp is a good lamp,
but not all good lamps are energy saving lamps!

Lighthouse said...

John, thanks, must use that, "An energy saving lamp is a good lamp, but not all good lamps are energy saving lamps!" ;-)

Anonymous said...

Is there going to be any follow up action to this debate. the UK energy secretary is actually Edward Downey now who sits on that group.
You would think that as a Conservative he would be for free markets and choice!
UK Conservatives and Liberals are very left orientated when it comes to government control Noone is for people's right to choose in England
Maybe UKIP (a fringe party), but that's all.
Harry S, Northampton

Anonymous said...

Also in USA opposition, new amendment being launched by Congressman Michael Burgess to stop funding of 100 Watt bulb ban

Patricia said...

Those involved here campaigning in UK about light sensitivity in using new bulbs are called SPECTRUM
see http://www.spectrumalliance.co.uk/

Unknown said...

what do you all think about Himalayan salt lamp ?
i think they are beneficial for health.

Lighthouse said...

Thank you "salt lamps"

I thought for a minute there I had missed out on some new "green" lighting technology.
"All of our salt lamps include 1 light bulb (15 Watts), 1 electric power cord (5 feet), and a marble base."
And maybe dimmer with any new-fangled replacement bulbs...

Unknown said...

This debate will not be a complaint about poor light quality, which some people have mentioned in the past, or about the ugliness of some of the light bulbs in question when they appear under a beautiful lampshade.debate is about a serious issue for people, perhaps relatively small in number, who could not sit in this Chamber, as I and other hon. Members are doing, underneath these lights.

Led spotlights

Lighthouse said...

Thank you Ashley
There are certainly many reasons why the regulations are a bad idea, and indeed pointless in terms of overall society savings, as in point 6 of the "How bans are wrongly justified" listing linked in the left hand column here.
Those with light sensitivity are of course particularly affected.

It is therefore a pity that the backing Spectrum organization and others defending those with light sensitivity problems seem to concede that the regulations are a otherwise a good idea - they clearly are not...