Fluorescent Tube Ban – LED To The Rescue?

December 28, 2023

In a move toward a greener future, the government has put the brakes on the production of linear T5 and T8 Fluorescent Tubes (LFTs) as of September 2023. These tubes, with their mercury content, are now a thing of the past. If you’re scratching your head wondering what comes next for your home or business if you have fluorescent tube lighting, fear not! We’re here to shed some light on the subject (pun intended).

Understanding the Ban

So, why the fuss about fluorescent tubes? Well, they contain mercury, and that’s not great for the environment. The government has stepped in, saying, “Enough is enough!” Now, it’s time to push newer, safer lighting options in the form of LEDs which contain zero mercury or harmful substances.

LED technology has evolved considerably in the last 6 years and it’s here to stay. There’s no need to manufacture old technology anymore which is understandable, however, this does mean you are going to have to replace your old fluorescent fittings at some stage.

The good news is LED Batten Fittings designed to replace linear fluorescent fittings are now very good quality and cost-effective. That’s if you choose a reputable brand with a trusted history of reliability and stout warranty backup. One of our most popular LED Batten Fittings designed to replace a 6ft F70w T8 fitting is our Leda 6ft 40w LED Batten with switchable colour temperatures.

Exploring LED Lighting Solutions

Enter LED Fittings – the superheroes of the lighting world. They come in different shapes and sizes, and they’re ready to transform your space whilst also drastically reducing your energy costs to operate them. From versatile LED Batten Fittings to sleek LED T8 Tubes, there’s a bright LED solution design to replace your outdated fluorescents.

More commonly found in commercial environments, linear fluorescent tubes were once an energy-saving marvel that was relatively cheap to buy and replace over time when they reached the end of life. But like many things, there’s always something better just around the corner.

LEDs designed to replace Fluorescent Tube Fittings generally come in 3 variants. These are:

  1. Waterproof LED IP65 Rated Batten Fittings – For use in outdoor environments, garages in the home and anywhere exposed to moisture. These types of fittings are water-tight once sealed and they come with either LED Tubes or the more common built-in LED chips mounted to a faceplate under the cover.
  2. Non-waterproof LED Batten Fittings – For use indoors when moisture isn’t an issue. Similar to the IP65 fittings, they either come with LED Tubes or built-in LED chips. These types are generally slimmer in design and are one of the most popular LED lighting products in the UK right now.
  3. LED Panels – For indoor use and primarily used in recessed ceilings with tiles. Old applications in schools and offices often used a reflective-type grid with fluorescent tubes in. These are designed to replace the complete fitting and tube combo.

Benefits of LED Over Fluorescent Tubes

Let’s talk about the perks of making the switch. First up, energy efficiency – LEDs are like the energy-sipping marathon runners of the lighting world, leaving fluorescent tubes in the dust. Plus, they last much longer, saving you money in the long run. And here’s the real kicker – no more mercury! LEDs are environmentally friendly, making your carbon footprint a little lighter.

LEDs also operate at a much cooler temperature which is why they tend to last 3 times as long as fluorescent. Similarly, within the automotive industry, you will often find new vehicles now have LED headlights as opposed to Xenon or older still, halogen bulbs which often require replacement under ownership.

Making The Switch To LED: What To Do?

Firstly, assess whether you can modify/upgrade your existing fittings. What we mean by this is consider replacing your Fluorescent Tubes with LED Tubes. If you have T8 Fluorescent tubes labelled F18w, F36w, F58w or F70w for example, you may want to look at an LED T8 Tube replacement and keep your existing fitting.

We stock a range of premium branded Radium LED T8 Tubes designed to use the existing control gear in your fitting providing everything is in good working order. Inside your fittings are little circuits with either a switch start choke or a high-frequency ballast wired in. Switch start fittings blink a few times before igniting, whereas high-frequency fittings come on instantly.

Radium’s LED T8 tubes allow you to swap your T8 Fluorescent tubes like for like. If you have a switch start fitting then you just need to install the external LED Starter supplied with these tubes and swap the tubes over. If your fittings are high-frequency then they won’t have an external starter and therefore you can just swap the tubes over. It’s as easy as that!

Cons: The health of the choke or ballast is the main downfall in faulty fittings which may have consequently led to the failure of your fluorescent tubes in the first place. In cases like this then you are much better off replacing the whole fitting to an LED one. Here are some cost-effective replaces for various fittings:

  1. Non-corrosive IP65 5ft Single LED Batten – also available in emergency
  2. Indoor 4ft Twin LED Batten – also available in emergency
  3. 600×600 LED Panel – also available in emergency and dimmable options

Can You Still Buy Fluorescent Tubes?

Yes, absolutely. Some lighting suppliers still have stock in popular T5 and T8 sizes/wattages. Direct Lighting Supplies is one of the UK’s remaining stockists. However, we highly recommend making the switch as regulations are becoming tighter when it comes to using fluorescent tubes.

You can find our fluorescent tube stock here. Top Tip: If you’re not sure what wattage you need, read the print on the end of the fluorescent tube you are replacing. It will say something like F58w/840 or F58w/35. The wattage is the most important thing as 99% of the time this determines the length too.

The end prefix such as: /840, /35 or 4000K for example refer to the colour temperature of the light. The last of the branded fluorescent tubes produced usually have references such as: 830, 835, 840 or 865. The 8 stands for CRI 80 (Colour Rendering Index) which is quantified on a scale from 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating superior colour rendering.

The last 2 numbers are referring to the kelvin rating. The lower the number, the more yellow the light will be. The higher the number, the more blue the light will be. 840 (4000K) is a good balance between the two if you aren’t sure what to go for.

CRI 80 was the latest standard in terms of affordability and reliability even though fluorescent tubes with a CRI of 90 were produced in much smaller numbers at considerably higher costs. In simple terms, CRI 80 will stay true to its original colour for at least 80% of its life until it begins to fade slightly.


In a nutshell, it’s time to bid farewell to fluorescent tubes and welcome the LED revolution. A brighter, mercury-free future awaits but it also helps save money in the long run in terms of running costs. So, whether you’re outfitting your garage or giving your commercial space a makeover, LED is the way to go.

If you’re not quite converted just yet then you can still buy fluorescent tube replacements from suppliers who may still have stock. Just make sure you understand the laws of the enforcement fully and be prepared to pay more for them compared to how the market was valued a few years ago!