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Government’s green initiative forces Britons to buy LED bulbs three times the price of halogen


Households with halogen lightbulbs will have to spend up to three times as much to replace the bulbs with greener LED alternatives as the Government banned the sale of the former from September.

The ban is part of the Government’s environmental plan and aims to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions by 1.26million tons a year, equivalent to removing 500,000 cars from the roads, it is claimed.

But consumers are faced with a increased up-front costs to buy LED bulbs to replace any halogen ones they have as they run out.

Halogen lightbulbs were commonly used in spotlights in the 1990s and 2010s and many households will still have them in their homes, but they do not need to get rid of them with the ban.

The most common type is the GU10 spotlight that was sold with popular lamps including IKEA models. However, shops will be banned from selling them and Brits will have to buy LED replacements.    

But experts are insisting that UK consumers will make greater savings in the long-term as LEDs use up to 80 per cent less power than halogens (pictured) and last five times longer

Britons will have to pay three times more for LEDs (left, GU10 fittings) than halogens (right)

Philips LED Filament candle

28W Halogen candle SES bulb

Online results by MailOnline show a 28W Halogen candle SES bulb (right) costs around £2.70, while a Philips LED Filament candle (left) costs nearly double at £4.15

How do I tell if I have halogen bulbs? 

Halogen bulbs are the closest existing bulbs to old-style incandescent bulbs in terms of light quality.

They have a tungsten filament enclosed in halogen gas and will be identifiable on the box as halogens. 

Halogen bulbs have one lighting element in the centre of the globe, whereas LEDs have many lighting elements in a circle around the globe. 

They were used in spotlights in the 1990s and 2010s and are used in car headlights, desktop lamps, and flood lighting – as well as the majority of theatre and studio fixtures.

LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are one of two main types of energy-efficient lightbulbs available in the UK, along with compact fluorescent lamps. 

They cost more than traditional bulbs, but are said to be cheaper in the long-term because they last longer. However they have faced past criticism that they emit a cold, green light and take too long to warm up.

The French health watchdog warned powerful LEDs are ‘photo-toxic’ and can permanently damage the retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms.  

Scientists have previously warned that LED bulbs flicker so much they can bring on feelings of dizziness and pain within 20 minutes of turning them on. 

And researchers from Newcastle University found that LEDs installed in supermarket fridges and aisles are killing key nutrients in fresh milk. 

Online results by MailOnline show that a 10-pack of 12 Volt Standard Halogen bulbs costs £10, whereas a pack of 10 Philips CorePro LEDs costs £29.

In another search, a 28W Halogen candle SES bulb costs around £2.70, while a Philips LED Filament candle bulb costs nearly double – at £4.15.

On B&Q’s website, a three-pack of Diall E27 LED dimmable light bulbs costs £14.50, while the exact equivalent in halogens cost just £1. 

Estimates by the Energy Saving Trust suggest it would cost a household £100 to replace all their bulbs with LEDs, but would cut energy bills by £40 per year.

Research by Compare the Market has also found that homes using halogens would pay £378 to run them – while those using LEDs would pay £146 instead. 

LEDs create light by passing electricity through a semiconductor. However, they can fail if they are made from poor quality materials, and are also more prone to burn-out from power surges. 

Energy-saving bulbs have also been criticised for emitting low levels of light and for the time they take to reach full brightness, and are disliked because some types cannot be dimmed. 

Climate activists welcomed the move, with Peter Hunt, the chief policy officer of the Lighting Industry Association telling the Telegraph: ‘The UK was actually pushing harder than most European governments for early phase out of these inefficient lamps.’

Stephen Rouatt, chief executive of Signify UK, which owns Philips lighting, said: ‘Using energy-efficient LED equivalents for halogen and fluorescent lighting on an even broader scale will significantly help the UK on its journey to decarbonisation, as well as lowering the annual electricity bills for consumers.’

However, free-market campaigners called the ban on halogen ‘a gimmick’ and ‘completely unnecessary’.

Speaking to MailOnline, Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Foundation, said households have already ‘caught on’ to LED savings. Currently LEDs account for two-thirds of all bulbs sold in the UK. 

He said past governments had since 2007 forced consumers to abandon incandescent bulbs in favour of fluorescent lights – themselves set to be phased out by 2023. 

The free marketeer also called the ban a ‘stunt’ that ‘makes life harder for people who actually need halogen or fluorescent bulbs for special purposes’, and urged the Government to ‘get out of the way of consumers’. 

‘I think that it’s completely unnecessary because LEDs account for two-thirds of all bulb sales in the UK, meaning that people have caught on to energy efficiency and long-term saving,’ Dr Peiser told MailOnline.

‘Yes it will be a hit to people’s pockets in the short-term, but there’s no doubting that households will be saving on their energy bills in the long-term.

‘The ban is a gimmick. Past governments forced people to replace their incandescent bulbs for fluorescent lights, and now they want people to get rid of those. The policy was a complete fiasco, in my opinion. 

‘The Government often makes huge mistakes in picking winners and losers and is forcing a decision on households that in the end could lead to disaster.’ 

The plans, which are set to be announced today, include a ban on the sale of lighting fixtures with bulbs that cannot be replaced. These account for 100,000 tons out of 1.5 million tons of electrical waste generated in the UK each year. 

The drive to cut greenhouse gas emissions first saw incandescent bulbs outlawed in 2009.  Halogen bulbs were promoted as green alternatives but will now become obsolete, with LED lights used in offices, shops and lampposts. 

Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: ‘We’re phasing out old inefficient halogen bulbs for good, so we can move more quickly to longer lasting LED bulbs, meaning less waste and a brighter and cleaner future for the UK. 

‘By helping ensure electrical appliances use less energy but perform just as well, we’re saving households money on their bills and helping tackle climate change.’

Minister for Climate Change Lord Martin Callanan said last night: ‘Flicking the off-switch on energy inefficient light bulbs is a simple way that households can save money at the same time as saving the planet.

‘Phasing out halogen bulbs in favour of LED alternatives that last longer, are just as bright and cheaper to run, is another way that we are helping tackle climate change.’


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