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              A campaign to save money and help the environment by using energy efficient light bulbs

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hansard: a written answer on merits of banning bulbs
The MP for Dundee West, Jim McGovern has asked Ian Pearson MP, the UK Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, if he would assess the merits of a ban on incandescent light bulbs. Jim has now received the following written answer:

Light Bulbs

Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess the merits of instituting a ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs. [92383]

Ian Pearson: The Government are committed to using all suitable policy instruments to remove the least efficient products from UK markets. Our current assessment is that, by removing ordinary incandescent light bulbs (GLS bulbs) from the UK market and encouraging sales of the most efficient alternatives, we could avoid approximately one million tonnes of carbon emissions per year by 2020.

The UK cannot unilaterally ban or prevent the free trade in products such as incandescent light bulbs on the basis of their energy efficiency. However, the Government are pressing the European Commission to make light-bulbs a priority for regulatory action under the recently agreed Eco-Design for Energy Using Products (EUP) framework directive. We are also discussing with retailers and manufacturers how we can remove inefficient lighting products from UK shelves in advance of regulations.

Ban The Bulb hopes that the UK government will not wait for the agreement of 25 EU nations before annoucing plans to phase out incandescents over the next 5 years (and save 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year = 3.67 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year).

This issue is so important that we should not allow an unspecified trade rule to block rapid progress on this simple, painless and effective step.

The Stern Review highlighted the massive scale of the challenge posed by the climate change and emphasised the need for governments to introduce policies of an equivalent scale, on an urgent basis.

If we cannot make progress with light bulbs, how are we going to make the bigger and harder choices that will inevitably be required of us?

There will always be excuses for inaction or delay, but far more could be done.

When I launched this campaign it was said that VAT rates could not be reduced on energy saving goods and services because this would re-open complex EU negotiations, yet the Chancellor reduced the rate of VAT on condoms from 17.5% to 5% in the last budget...

Clearly our politicians can make a big difference when they want to show leadership.