11 Apr 2010

Add your name to Lighter Later

The 10:10 folk have started a campaign, 'Lighter Later', which is getting great coverage. Indeed it really might happen this time. Greens have long supported the idea. Basically it is very simple: we shift the clocks forward by one hour throughout the entire year. We would still put the clocks forward in spring and back in autumn, but we would have moved an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening, when more of us are awake to enjoy it. Many benefits including saving lives, money and carbon...

Here's the campaign letter sent to Gordon Brown that explains more with the link below to add your name.

Dear Prime Minister,

We the undersigned believe that the time is right to look again at moving the UK to "Single Double Summer Time" (SDST), with clocks set to GMT+1 during the winter and GMT+2 during the summer. A large and growing body of evidence suggests that this simple change would bring about a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits.

On the environmental front, aligning the hours of sunlight more closely with people’s daily routines would yield important reductions in energy use and carbon emissions. Recent research from experts at Cambridge University predicts that shifting to SDST would save around half a million tonnes of CO2 in the winter alone, with substantial extra savings expected in the summer period too.

The social benefits would be equally significant. The Department for Transport has accepted evidence from groups such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents that advancing Britain’s clocks forward by one hour throughout the year would avoid a hundred deaths and many more serious injuries annually by making the roads safer, especially in Scotland where the winter days are shortest.

Other expected social benefits include a reduction in crime and the fear of crime; an increase in the quality of life for elderly people; increased participation levels in sports and other outdoor activities that make people healthier and tackle obesity; and a reduction in the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The economic case for changing to SDST is strong, too. Industry groups predict a £3.5 billion boost for British leisure and tourism that would create up to 80,000 new jobs in the sector, while the NHS could expect large cost savings through a reduction in road casualties. SDST would also help reduce fuel poverty and lower energy bills by alleviating demand during the evening peak when the cost of generation is highest.

The evidence is clear that the advantages of a move to SDST strongly outweigh the disadvantages. And, as the Department for Transport has noted, the change would be relatively quick and inexpensive to implement. Supporters of the Lighter Later campaign are calling for a three-year trial of SDST in order to prove that we can make better use of the daylight hours.

We ask that you schedule the time to debate this proposal in Parliament at the earliest opportunity, and we very much hope that your Government will lend this positive and ambitious proposal its full support in the House.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Booth

See the campaign website and add your name at: www.lighterlater.org/

There is a long history of Parliamentary debates and discussions about British Summer Time and how it should be varied. A study of the 1968 to 1971 experiment with replacing British Summer Time, found that there were around 2,700 less casualties on the roads, although much of this coincided with other road safety measures being introduced. The road safety arguments have always been countered by the needs of Scottish farmers, the tourism industry and other groups in the north of Scotland. The Scottish Parliament will hopefully be given powers to set their own time, according to what benefits communities north of the border.

It is time we gave it a try.

More on 10:10's general campaign: Stroud was one of the first ten Councils to sign up to 10:10 due to the work of Green councillor Fi MacMillan - and Green councillors are also all signed up to make efforts to reduce our carbon footprints by 10% during the year 2010.

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