Benn sees the light

The government has made a sensible choice on the issue of light bulbs, I believe. The headlines ran that traditional light bulbs will be phased out by 2012 - but the key here is that the initiative is voluntary. Supermarkets and energy suppliers have agreed to gradually phase out incandescent bulbs from next year. It is supposed that while energy saving bulbs cost more to buy they last up to 12 times as long and use nearly 80% less electricity. Which can only be a good thing. Other countries have introduced an all out ban, such as Australia who will ban conventional bulbs beyond 2009.

Greenpeace has responded by saying: "The government needs to go further and introduce tough mandatory efficiency standards rather than relying on weak voluntary initiatives. For every year of delay in getting rid of these bulbs, 5m tonnes of CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere unnecessarily." But how is working closely with the industry, letting the market decide and getting a sensible and effective result a bad thing? Well done environment secretary Hilary Benn, I say.