Energy saving light bulb concerns raised by lordEnergy minister moves to tackle brightness worry

04 February 2009

A low energy lightbulb

All the bulbs on test matched their light output claims

An energy minister has dismissed concerns about the UK's switch from incandescent light bulbs to energy saving light bulbs.

Concern had been voiced by Labour peer Lord Harrison, who believes that energy-saving light bulbs are less bright than incandescent light bulbs, 'which makes life difficult for people with poor eyesight'.

But energy minister Lord Hunt has responded that 'halogen lookalike bulbs' are available for those who want a brighter light. 

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) says that these bulbs can 'achieve the same lighting effect' as incandescent bulbs, but that many blind and partially sighted people are confused about energy saving light bulbs. The RNIB says that the 'real issue is knowing what [light bulb] to get'.

Advice guide on bulb concerns

Stores across the UK have already begun to voluntarily phase out the availability of incandescent bulbs in the UK, ahead of new EU laws set to be enforced later this year.

Which? has received many queries from readers about energy saving light bulbs. Many people are concerned about issues including their brightness, disposal or possible health effects. To help answer these queries, Which? has just published an advice guide on energy saving light bulbs. 


Lord Hunt has also responded to claims by former chancellor Lord Lawson, who said that the switch from incandescent bulbs to energy saving light bulbs would be detrimental to the environment due to the increased level of difficult mercury disposal that would result.

Lord Hunt said that the government was encouraging the development of LED lights as a more energy efficient technology which didn't contain the hazardous substance. 

He said: 'We very much hope we can see the new technology come to the market in the next few years'.

End of traditional light bulbs

Lizzy Payne, senior Which? researcher, said: 'The phasing out of incandescent light bulbs will go some way to helping the UK reduce its carbon emissions. The introduction of energy saving, compact fluorescent light bulbs to your home, will also help you bring down electricity bills'.

To help find the best energy saving light bulbs check out our energy-saving light bulb report containing comparative results of 25 bulbs.

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