Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the effect on electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions of the installation and use of light-emitting diode lighting.
Copy and paste this code on your website
Although I have not discussed the issue of LED lighting with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs specifically, the Government certainly recognise the potential energy savings that ultra-efficient lighting technologies such as LEDs can offer. We continue to work to stimulate development and take-up, and officials in the two Departments have worked, and will continue to work, together on this issue.
LED lighting is super-efficient. It uses just 5 per cent. of the wattage of a conventional light bulb; it generates very little heat, which means that it reduces fire risk in applications; and it contains no mercury, which means that it is safer to dispose of. May I urge the Minister to have discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on this issue? Will she also advise the House what the low-carbon business innovation unit within her Department is doing to promote this technology?
I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question, and I should tell him how much we agree with him on the huge potential benefits of LED lighting. That is why we have put some LED products on to our energy technology product list and why we have made those specific types of lighting available to benefit from the enhanced capital allowance scheme, which has delivered approximately £550 million in tax relief to those who have purchased products on the Carbon Trust's energy technology list. The potential for the makers and retailers of LEDs is considerable, and I shall pursue the points that he has made. As I have indicated, I am sure that our officials will continue those important discussions.
Several years ago, I proposed to the Government, by way of written questions, that a considerable amount of electricity could be saved just by fitting LEDs to all the traffic lights in the country. Will my hon. Friend now look at that proposal as a serious one?
The Department for Transport has been working with lighting manufacturers to look carefully at how to include low-energy traffic lights in its pursuance of a low-energy transport strategy. I am not, of course, able to tell my hon. Friend the extent to which it may have considered LEDs, but I am more than happy to have a discussion on this point with my opposite numbers.
What discussions has the Minister had with organisations representing the blind and partially sighted on the effects of the withdrawal, over a period, of conventional light bulbs?
When I was in my previous post in DEFRA, I had a number of discussions with such representatives, who quite properly came to me to express concern about the phase-out. I contacted my colleagues in the Department of Health, we then specifically organised meetings with those who represented the blind and partially sighted and we referred the matter to the European Commission because, of course, this is ultimately the subject of a European directive, although we are in advance of it in this country. The European Commission has undertaken research and has found that the use of double-envelope compact fluorescent lamps—CFLs—which look like traditional light bulbs, can largely or entirely mitigate the risk of aggravating the symptoms of too light-sensitive individuals. Other forms of lighting are available, remain on the market and are entirely safe, and, as I have said, double-envelope bulbs should not give problems to those who may be light sensitive.