Legislation lighting an LED future

Halogen and fluorescent light bulbs to be banned in the UK


A press release on 9th June 2021 from the UK Governments, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy set out plans for Halogen light bulbs to be banned from September 2021 with fluorescent light bulbs to follow, cutting emissions and saving consumers on their energy bills.

The ban is part of the UK’s wider efforts to tackle climate change and will include the removal of fluorescent lights from shelves from September 2023.

Currently, around 2 thirds of bulbs sold in Britain are LED lights, making a considerable impact on improving the nations energy efficiency. 

The UK began phasing out the sale of higher-energy halogen light bulbs in 2018. The new legislation means retailers will no longer be able to sell the majority of halogen bulbs for general household use in the UK from 1 September.

This measure is expected to mean that LED light bulbs will account for 85% of all bulbs sold by 2030.

This signals a step change for the government who see the broad environmental benefits of moving to efficient LED based lighting solutions as an important contributor in the drive towards Nett Zero Carbon Emissions and this is now being enforced with both carrot and stick regulations.


While it is certainly the case that the market segments get smaller as we look beyond visible light and into specialist areas such as printing and curing, it could be argued that, as we become increasingly aware of the ‘cradle to grave’ embodied carbon cycle of manufacturing, the environmental benefits of harnessing improved energy efficiency is amplified by reducing industrial energy usage.

What is clear however, is that the use of solid state UVC-LEDs is a very attractive proposition for both the long term environmental benefits of energy efficiency and also the benefits of negating the need for toxic heavy metals so prevalent in the manufacture of the traditional UVC source. It is going to be interesting to watch how the use of government regulations, and public opinion, continues to motivate End Users by driving us towards more sustainable solutions in the water treatment sector.

For Water Utilities focused on managing assets over an operational lifetime, this legislation should prompt investment in sustainable infrastructure for the long term, to avoid being saddled with obsolete technology in the short to medium term.


Coupled with the drive towards "Nett Zero", is the ever increasing focus on the development of environmentally friendly solutions and in that regard UV disinfection is an interesting contradiction - used in water and wastewater treatment plants throughout the world to provide a chemical free solution - yet, today, almost all municipal and industrial water treatment UV Systems use Mercury lamps.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It came into force in 2017 and looks to ban or phase out the use of mercury for a wide range of applications. 

Currently Mercury UV Lamps have a 5 year dispensation on their use for water treatment applications because there hasn't been seen to be a viable alternative. But with the ever increasing use and development of UVC-LED technology how long will that remain in place and what does that then mean for thousands of Mercury UV Systems installed around the world?

If you are interested in learning more about how you can support the phasing out of the use of Mercury in water treatment, and benefit from the growing demand to switch to UVC LED technology, please get in touch.


Matt Simpson

Dr. Matthew Simpson obtained his PhD from the University of Newcastle, and has more than 15 years of experience in civil and environmental engineering. He co-founded Typhon Treatment Systems in 2014 and is now CEO.

Topics from this blog: UV LED legislation

Mercury Free UV LED

Download our White Paper which introduces municipal scale UV LED Disinfection

Why Typhon’s UV LED Water Treatment?

An optimally efficient configuration of UV LEDs in a water treatment system will be first to compete with Hg UV and will retain its advantage as UV LED performance improves.

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