'Grey world' energy saver bulbs under fire

A ban on the sale of traditional lightbulbs has been criticised by peers who said it would make life difficult for people with poor eyesight and raise safety concerns.

Environment minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath said incandescent lightbulbs waste 95 per cent of the energy they use as heat.

He said: "Phasing these out and replacing them with efficient alternatives can help reduce emissions and energy bills. We are pleased that UK retailers and energy suppliers are voluntarily phasing out these lamps before European rules are introduced later this year."

But Labour's Lord Harrison said he was "incandescent" about "the reduced brightness of these new lamps that make life difficult for those with poor eyesight, the poorer quality of the light which renders the world a grey ineffectiveness and also the concerns about safety associated with mercury release".

And Tory former Cabinet minister Lord Lawson of Blaby, a prominent climate change sceptic, asked: "How can the European Union ban mercury thermometers because they are a health hazard but at the same time force us to use the low-energy lightbulbs which have a great deal more mercury than mercury thermometers?"

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