Today (1st September 2011) marks the untimely and unnecessary death of the humble but revolutionary incandescent light bulb, an invention of Englishman Joseph Swan in 1878.

Since September 2009 it has been a criminal offence to manufacture or import any frosted or ‘pearl’ incandescent bulb or any clear bulb with a power of 100W or more, and as from today it is now illegal to manufacture or import 60W incandescent clear light bulbs.

Kerry Nicolaou has been stockpiling thousands of incandescent bulbs which he sells from his shop Orbit Electronics in Twickenham:

This is not a democracy, it’s becoming like a dictatorship, ordering you to do this, do that. You should have a choice.

I agree entirely. What happened to consumer choice?

So who do we have to thank for agreeing to this? It’s our old foe Tony Blair!

In 2007 Prime Minister Blair agreed to adopt European Commission Regulation (EC) No 244/2009 which outlaws the manufacture and import of incandescent bulbs.

So what of the replacement, the compact fluorescent lamp?

Howard Brandston – one of the most respected lighting experts in the world – says this:

Compact fluorescent lamps are dangerous – because of the mercury. If they weren’t dangerous, why would the manufacturers pack them in plastic when they ship them? Incandescent lamps are packaged in cardboard. The truth is they don’t want the mercury escaping – one gram of mercury can pollute a two-acre pond. The bulbs are a serious health hazard.

There is a small glimmer of hope however.

In February 2007 the New Zealand government announced a proposal to ban incandescent bulbs, but in December 2008 their new Energy and Resources Minister, Gerry Brownlee, reversed the decision and lifted the ban on traditional light bulbs.

This government has real concerns about telling people they have to move to energy efficient light bulbs by decree.

It has been well signaled and will come as no surprise that the government is lifting the ban on traditional or incandescent light bulbs.

We are committed to energy efficiency in the home and efficient lighting has an important role to play in helping us reduce the amount of energy we use, but this Government believes it is a matter of consumer choice.

People need good, credible information about the different lighting options that are available to them, and then they can decide what is right for them in their homes.

Lifting the previous government’s ban on incandescent light bulbs simply means we are allowing their continued sale, and I am confident the consumer trend to energy efficient bulbs will continue.

Please join me then in lobbying Energy Minister Charles Hendry to do likewise and save us from this undemocratic Blair legacy.