Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has declared his opposition to the European Union’s Ecodesign Regulation for Lighting, which will prohibit the use of incandescent lighting in our theatres.

These regulations would stop any new tungsten lighting product from being manufactured in or imported into the EU. Many theatres depend on these products, and simply cannot afford to replace them. Giles believes that this is unacceptable, and would put at risk the achievements of the performing arts sector, which has consistently grown ahead of the UK economy for the past few years, whilst delivering over £5.2bn in exports – 84% of which head outside the EU.

Giles has, therefore, written to Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He has now received a reply, which sets out that the Department understands the impact these regulations can have, and that is why they are pushing the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to exempt professional stage lighting in theatres from this legislation.

However, while this response is encouraging, Giles will continue to keep the pressure on ministers to ensure that these concerns are heard, and will pressure the Government to do more now to mitigate the potentially negative impact of these proposed changes.

Giles said:

“We live in an age where Britain is probably the finest exponent of theatre in the world and because we export to the world, not only the shows themselves, but by their very success we export British values and products. Yet, if we allow these EU regulations to become law in Britain, we will be cutting off one of our most powerful cultural limbs.

“I have spoken with many who might be affected, but perhaps the most powerful voice is that of Sonia Friedman, producer of many West End shows, who told me that if these new lighting regulations are brought into force, her smash hit show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, currently playing at the Palace Theatre, would have to close – and that is just one of many.

“So, this sector must be protected, and Brexit would offer us the opportunity to do that, as we will be able to make our own laws, benefitting our own enterprises and this is just one example where we should take that control.

“But these regulations could be enacted before our withdrawal, so I will be fighting to safeguard our wonderful theatres, including those in the Clacton constituency, which are dear to my heart.”