Syed Kamall

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU plan to ban the bulb

Wednesday, 14th March 2007

Letter to London local press


There is a campaign in the corridors of Brussels to ban the sale of traditional incandescent light bulbs in the EU within two years. As lighting is said to account for around 19 percent of all electricity production, it is thought this move could cut carbon emissions by up to 20 million tonnes per year.

While we would all welcome more energy efficiency, users of energy-saving light bulbs have complained that they take time to warm up, and that the light produced by them is often too poor to read a book. While they may be acceptable for a hallway, they are often unsuitable for some offices or a bathroom.

Rather than banning traditional light bulbs within two years, maybe we should first incentivise the industry to innovate and produce better, cheaper and more energy-efficient models and to reduce the flicker on existing energy-saving bulbs. The industry could be encouraged to provide more information to consumers so that they can make responsible decisions about which bulbs would be more suitable for their circumstances.

Are we right to sacrifice freedoms to ward off global warming? Or is there too much heat and not enough light in the global warming debate? I would be interested in the views of readers who can write to me at

Yours sincerely

Syed Kamall
Conservative MEP for London
European Parliament