Brexit and the light bulb – what do you think?


Advocates of Brexit dreamed of a UK free of EU regulatory control. Now that the dream is a reality, what affect might it have on the lighting industry and, in particular, bulbs?

A short history of light bulbs in the EU

The EU agreed to a progressive phase-out of incandescent light bulbs by 2012. First in the firing line were general-purpose, non-directional bulbs (so not reflector bulbs or special purpose bulbs – including those used in household appliances, traffic lights, infrared heaters and automotive lighting). In September 2009, frosted incandescent bulbs, and those over 100W, were the first to be banned. Others, including lower wattages, followed at the end of 2012. Some incandescent bulbs, marketed as ‘rough-service’ or ‘shock-resistant’, are exempt.

Halogen bulbs were given more time, with phase-out set for 2016. They are governed by two directives: EC 244/2009 and EC 1194/2012. Directive EC 1194/2012 applies to directional lamps, which are due for phase-out this month, September. So it’s goodbye to those old stalwarts, GU10 and MR16 halogen, among others. Directive EC 244/2009 applies to non-directional lamps and was originally planned to start this month too, but it has been delayed until September 2018.

Could Brexit be the saviour of some halogens?

So might Brexit offer a reprieve in the UK for the remaining halogen lamps due for the chop in 2018? These include G4 capsules and ‘energy saver’ GLS / decorative bulbs. As a non-EU country, the UK would not be compelled to comply with phasing them out, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. The LIA seem to be in favour of the phase-out. The timing of Brexit is a factor, of course, but if the UK were to have the opportunity to retain these bulbs, should we take it? Share your thoughts with us.

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5 thoughts on “Brexit and the light bulb – what do you think?

  1. We could take it a step further. If we’re not bound by EU regulations, there’s no reason why previously banned lamps shouldn’t go back on the market. We should still take energy-saving seriously, though.


  2. The real energy consumers are not being challenged , reducing energy on lighting is relatively small and it has left us with poor lighting as a consequence and of course increased costs


  3. Unlikely we would revoke any of the regulations. In fact the UK has often been an advocate for stricter performance levels and faster timelines for phase out and has been tempered by the majority vote in the EU. Ironically for those hoping for fewer regulations post Brexit in lighting and other realms of life, it is quite possible the opposite may occur.


    • I remember when tungsten lamps was the perfect CRI , now a fudging of the standards means LED is raised , but you still cant sit on a chair and read a book by a table lamp. Is profit a motivator here ?


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