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Brits banned from buying halogen bulbs from today

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Written by: Emma Lunn
01/10/2021
Consumers can no longer buy halogen light bulbs from shops under new government rules for energy efficiency.

From today, only LED light bulbs will be available to buy. This type of light bulb lasts several years longer than halogen bulbs, but they can be more expensive.

The government says the shift to LED bulbs will cut 1.26 million tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of removing over half a million cars from UK roads.

The government announced in June that halogen bulbs will be taken off retailers’ shelves. The move was originally due to take place on 1 September but was later pushed back to 1 October.

Currently, about two thirds of bulbs sold in Britain are LED lights, making a considerable impact in improving the energy efficiency of the country’s buildings. They last five times longer than traditional halogen lightbulbs and produce the same amount of light – but use up to 80% less power.

The UK began phasing out the sale of higher-energy halogen lightbulbs in 2018. The new legislation means retailers will no longer be able to sell the majority of halogen bulbs for general household use in the UK from today.

To help people to choose the most efficient lightbulbs, changes to the energy labels that consumers see on bulb packaging are also being brought in. The A+, A++ and A+++ ratings have been abandoned and replaced with efficiency grades from A to G, with only the most efficient bulbs given an A rating.

Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “The original September ban on halogen bulbs caught a lot of consumers off guard, with 17 million people saying the change was happening too soon.

“Delaying the ban until October has given people a little more time to prepare, but the change has still caused significant upheaval, with an estimated 10 million households needing to replace light fittings that are incompatible with LEDs.

“Meanwhile, an estimated 54 million halogen bulbs will need to be swapped for LEDs at a potential cost of £109m. A fifth of people planned to get around the ban by hoarding bulbs, but they should be aware that the move to LEDs comes with a number of benefits.

“The government estimates that the national shift to LED bulbs will cut 1.26 million tonnes of CO2. Just as importantly, switching to LEDs will also help people save money on their energy bills at a time when prices are soaring.

“Every 50-watt halogen bulb that is swapped for an LED alternative saves households £3 a year. It may not seem like much on its own, but the savings add up when you think about how many bulbs there are in the average home.”

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