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Low-energy Lighting

Volume 554: debated on Thursday 6 December 2012

9. What progress he has made in negotiations with the EU on a derogation from the ban on the import or manufacture of incandescent bulbs for those who suffer ill health as a result of exposure to low-energy lighting ahead of the review of legislation in 2014; and if he will make a statement. (131734)

I beg your pardon, Mr Speaker. I blame the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Ogmore (Huw Irranca-Davies) for distracting me. Why not?

There are no provisions allowing the European Commission or individual member states to create exemptions from regulation 244/2009, which phases out incandescent bulbs. However, we are pressing to ensure that EU policy and legislation take full account of the potential health implications of artificial lighting. We have successfully ensured that provisions for people with light-sensitive health conditions were included in a new eco-design regulation that sets minimum standards for directional lighting and light-emitting diodes.

My constituents are pleased that the draft regulations for directional lighting acknowledge that there is a problem with health. The other regulations are due for review in 2014. Will the Minister confirm that he, along with other parts of the EU, will seek to achieve a change in 2014, so that the problem can be resolved?

My Department and the Department of Health are working closely with the lighting industry, the Health Protection Agency, charities and patient groups such as the Spectrum Alliance—I understand that the hon. Lady has a connection with the Spectrum Alliance—on how to make information on appropriate lighting solutions available. We have had productive discussions with the Department of Health and the lighting industry to identify health care professionals who can assist us. We will ensure that we have a plan of action by early next year, ready for next September when the new eco-design regulations come into force.

The European Commission has pledged further to investigate the link between artificial lighting and various health conditions. Will the Minister update the House on when that research will come forward?

I am afraid that I do not have that information for my hon. Friend, but I will happily write to him on the matter. We ought also to recognise the contribution that LED lighting can make. It may be part of the solution to the problem.