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Sinn Féin back EU wide ban on non eco-friendly light bulbs

16 October, 2008

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has welcomed the move to ban the sale of traditional light bulbs across the EU from 2010 and the Irish government decision to begin phasing in a ban in the coming months.

Ms de Brún said:

"John Gormley, the Environment Minster in the South, has confirmed his intention to introduce an energy efficiency and performance standard for light bulbs from early 2009, while working to anticipate and prepare for an EU-wide initiative being developed by the European Commission. Having worked in the European Parliament towards achieving a ban throughout the EU, I find this is very welcome news indeed. EU Environment Ministers meeting in Luxembourg also hope to see the cost of the alternative; energy-saving light bulbs come down.

"Across the world other countries, including Canada, Australia, Venezuela, Cuba and others that are not members of the EU have set an example and taken the decision to phase out conventional incandescent light bulbs. It is good that we are now following this example.

"I believe that the Assembly could send a strong pro-environment signal by moving towards an early ban on these traditional light bulbs while keeping our measures in line with the forthcoming EU wide ban. We should not have to wait until the EU forces our hand before bringing in sensible measures that would save energy, save on energy costs and help combat climate change.

"The new light bulb scheme will initially apply to bulbs of 75 watts and higher and the phasing out of the traditional bulbs will come into effect beginning March 1, 2009, with an EU-wide ban on the sale of traditional or incandescent light bulbs to begin in 2010.

"Sinn Féin will continue to work with our partners within the European Parliament in support of the ban both in Ireland and at EU level. We will continue to work towards this goal at local, Assembly and EU level.

"It may sound trivial to talk about light bulbs, but if we were to trade conventional incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent lamps (low-energy bulbs) throughout the EU, carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 20 million tons per year and we could save €5-8 billion per year over the whole of Europe. Low-energy bulbs normally draw only a fifth of the energy that conventional bulbs do, while their lifetime is ten times that of the conventional bulb. A single low-energy bulb in normal use saves 111 kilos of carbon dioxide annually." ENDS

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