Low voltage lamps are to start being phased out from next year

Another year, another ban. Low voltage lamps are to be phased out from next year according to draft legislation released by the European Commission last month.

The proposed legislation has sparked a backlash from many in the lighting industry concerned that the lamps are being phased out before viable alternatives become available. 12V MR16 lamps are widely used in retail, commercial and increasingly in residential lighting and millions are sold each year. The European Lamp Companies Federation (ELC) has tried to reassure the industry saying that ‘top performing’ halogens, halogen lamps based on IRC and xenon technologies, will survive the ban.

However this has not satisfied many in the industry who believe that urgent clarification is required. The data needed to work out which lamps will remain on the market after 2013 is not readily available, and it is therefore, at the moment, impossible to understand which lamps will meet the criteria. This information needs to be published asap so we can understand the impact that the legislation will have. There also appears to be no guarantee that lower-energy infrared coated (IRC) lamps will be allowed post 2016 so there is no incentive for manufacturers to invest in their production.

What is clear is that the current wide range of light outputs, beam angles and reflector options is unlikely to be available after 2013. The ELC say they ‘recognise this is an ongoing process’.

Until all the information needed to answer the questions surrounding yet another piece of heavy-handed legislation is available the debate will continue. Watch this space and keep your fingers crossed that LED technology catches up quickly – it’s not there yet!