Today the Daylight Saving Bill faces it's second reading. I have previously blogged on this issue - see here.
It was presented to Parliament for First Reading on 30 June 2010 - sponsored by Rebecca Harris, Conservative MP for Castle Point in Essex. The official wording of the Bill requires the Secretary of State to conduct an analysis of the potential costs and benefits of advancing time by one hour for all or part of the year so this is an important first step.
The Bill basically proposes to move UK clocks forward permanently by one hour, making better use of available daylight hours, thus reducing peak electricity demand in autumn and spring. Under the proposal, clocks would be set at Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +1 hour in the winter, and GMT+2 in the winter, known as single double summertime (SDST).
10:10 launched the Lighter Later campaign to support the Bill and you may have noticed their 'widget' is near the bottom of the right hand column in this blog.
The case against?
A Green party researcher recently outlined the case for and against. The points noted in opposition include that Scotland has previously resisted the change, arguing that darker mornings will endanger schoolchildren, and make livestock farming more difficult. David Mundell, the Scotland Office Minister, claims most Scots are opposed to the change. I have heard it argued that Scotland could operate with a different time zone?
The Daily Mail has attacked the proposals because of the risks associated with longer, darker mornings, including increased road accidents during the morning rush hour, and perceived pressure for EU harmonisation!! While the National Federation of Builders has warned of the danger to construction workers, who begin work early in the mornings and Dairy UK, the body representing UK milkmen, has also said milkmen would be forced to work longer hours in the dark, increasing the risk of accidents. Another group opposing are the Orthodox Jewish community who note that there is a clash between dawn prayer times and leaving for work.
Researchers at Cambridge University told the Energy and Climate Change Committee that the UK could save up to 447,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually by better aligning the waking hours of the UK population with the daylight available. Researchers said the savings would be equivalent to taking 172,000 cars off the road. This would also lower energy bills. This is a significant step - not huge but significant.
Changes would mean lighter evenings, which it is claimed would:
(a) Reduce the number of road accidents in winter, potentially saving the NHS around £138m a year.
(b) Increase tourism to the UK, boosting tourism earnings by up to £300m, and creating 60,000-80,000 new jobs in the tourism industry (according to the Policy Studies Institute).
(c) Improve national health e.g. by reducing the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and reducing obesity by giving people more time to exercise and play sport outside in the evenings.
You wonder how all that is worked out! Anyhow the UK time would be aligned with most of Europe, helping to facilitate international business. Plus according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, an extra hour of daylight in the evenings could prevent 80 deaths and 200 serious injuries annually. Again if this is the case it is a very important move.
The Lighter Later campaign also claim that the change would “demonstrate that dealing with climate change can be good for the economy, good for people and good for society as a whole”. We need such messages!!