By Daniel Hunter

Draft legislation drawn up by the European Commission proposes that low voltage halogens be banned from next year as part of the same Ecodesign legislation that led to the controversial phasing out of incandescent bulbs.

Under the proposals, 12V MR16 lamps that are widespread in retail, commercial and residential applications will be phased out from 2013. Millions of these bulbs are sold in the UK every year.

The cost burden to the many businesses and households that will be forced to replace these bulbs is likely to have a significant impact during already difficult economic times.

Lighting designers and manufacturers have already indicated concern about the restrictions the ban will impose. Even suppliers who offer energy efficient alternatives to halogen bulbs are critical of the government’s scattergun approach to banning products.

“This latest proposal is another misguided piece of legislation from a government who are unfortunately failing to get a handle on the issue of energy efficient lighting,” Simon Leggett, Managing Director of LED specialists OCG Lighting commented.

“Government has a fundamental role to play in accelerating the widespread adoption of energy-efficient lighting solutions. But the latest proposal to ban low voltage halogens fails to take into account overall efficiency or the needs of the end user. What is required is a radical rethink in our approach to lighting that focuses on long-term solutions.”

This is not the first time that government has missed the mark on lighting legislation. The incandescent bulb phase-out led to the widespread adoption of compact fluorescents that were not only a major step backwards in terms of performance but also a poor move that encouraged products containing large quantities of mercury to be released into uncontrolled and domestic environments.

“The intention to encourage widespread adoption of energy efficient lighting is absolutely right”, explains Simon. “But the impact on businesses and households has to be taken into account. Pressure must be matched by support and proper communication around the benefits of investing in long-life, maintenance-free lighting.”

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