Category Archives: BST: British Summer Time And ‘Daylight Saving’
Legislation about multiple low-cost benefits to the environment, economy and health: What’s there not to like? Friday 3 December 2010 offers MPs the opportunity to move forward on a UK Parliamentary Bill to agree that proper research be conducted into the advantages or otherwise of keeping some form of ‘Daylight Saving’ year-round. But why even bother with the Bill? Why not just research these very positive proposals fully anyway?
It’s Hallowe’en weekend and that precious hour of afternoon light is set to go till next Spring; but perhaps at long last common sense will prevail. With luck and one more push (believe me, over the years there have been many) the spectre of Winter nights starting sometime after lunch will be gone, and the many advantages of keeping British Summer Time (one hour ahead of GMT) will become reality. Research is clear on benefits to energy, health and even lives. Now we need to banish ghosts of mistaken mythology about the disbenefits of ‘daylight saving’…..
This is the longest day of the year, a day and night when darkness barely touches the River Mersey or the historic ports of Liverpool and the Wirral to each side of that river’s great estuary. But even on this solstice day it’s not all about heritage. The estuary’s traditional maritime installations are here matched by the forward-looking technology of wind turbines, a constant reminder that energy is not ours to squander. Longer evening light, with the clocks forward year-through as 10:10 proposes, would help reduce this waste consistently without effort.
Well, hardly had the Publish button been clicked on my last posting, than The Guardian newspaper arrived, announcing that the 10:10
Lighter Later campaign has been launched, to achieve what we have proposed for Daylight Saving and energy conservation on this website for several years. A whole range of politicians and many researchers and other organisations agree that we need to keep BST+ for entirely pragmatic reasons of sustainability, not to mention well-being.
The test now will be to see how soon these claimed good intentions are translated into reality. The more everyone supports such very sensible proposals, the easier it will be for the changes to happen. This is the text of the letter being sent to the Prime Minister:
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.
You can sign up to support this letter here, at www.lighterlater.org.
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The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), has also been campaigning for SDST for many years (please see below).
You can support RoSPA’s campaign here.
This is their position:
- RoSPA’s Lighter Evenings Campaign
Proposals to amend the system of timekeeping have a long history in Britain, with RoSPA spearheading the campaign for a change that would bring lighter evenings all year round.
Press Release : RoSPA CHIEF URGES SUPPORT FOR LIGHTER EVENINGS CAMPAIGN
In the UK at present, clocks follow Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) from October to March and British Summer Time (BST) which is GMT plus one hour from March to October.
RoSPA has been calling for many years for a move to a system called “Single Double Summer Time” (SDST), which would put the clocks one hour ahead of GMT in winter and two hours ahead of GMT in summer. Complementing RoSPA’s campaign, a move to SDST has been the subject of a number of bills laid before Parliament.
Reducing the number of people killed and injured on the roads is the key aim behind RoSPA’s campaign. The most recent research found that a move to SDST could reduce road deaths by around 80 per year and serious injuries by around 212 per year.
…a move to SDST could reduce road deaths by around 80 per year and serious injuries by around 212 per year.
The Department for Transport’s consultation paper, “A Safer Way: Making Britain’s Roads the Safest in the World”, cited these figures in 2009. It also stated that while moving to SDST would involve a one-off cost of £5million to publicise the change, it would then result in benefits of £138.36million a year due to the reduction in road casualties. It said the cost-benefit case in road safety terms was “clear”, but that the issue went beyond the scope of the strategy consultation.
Also in 2009, the National Audit Office published a report called “Improving Road Safety for Pedestrians and Cyclists in Great Britain”. In a section looking at seasonal road casualty patterns from 2000-2007, the report stated that there were 10 per cent more collisions killing or injuring a pedestrian in the four weeks following the clocks going back than in the four weeks before the clocks changed.
And a report published by the Public Accounts Committee in 2009 stated that there was “substantial evidence” that fewer people would be killed and seriously injured on the roads if the clocks were put forward by one hour throughout the year.
…extra evening daylight protects vulnerable road users like children, the elderly, cyclists and motorcyclists.
The latest findings confirm earlier research which showed that during an experiment which ran from 1968-71, when British Standard Time (GMT + 1) was employed all year round, around 2,500 deaths and serious injuries were prevented each year of the trial period.
The road safety benefits of SDST would be achieved because there are far more road casualties in the evening. Any increase in casualties in the morning during the winter would be outweighed by the reduction in casualties due to an hour of extra daylight in the evenings.
Extra evening daylight protects vulnerable road users like children, the elderly, cyclists and motorcyclists, making them more visible to motorists. Motorists are more tired after a day’s work and concentration levels are lower. Children tend to go straight to school in the morning but often do other things on their way home, increasing their exposure to road dangers. Social trips are generally made in the afternoon and evening.
In 2008, pedestrian deaths in Britain rose from 55 in October to 62 in November – the month in which the most pedestrian fatalities were recorded.
Tourism, leisure and sporting organisations generally support a move to SDST, welcoming the increased opportunities for activity presented by more daylight on weekday evenings – an increasingly important point given concerns about obesity and public health.
The environmental benefits of switching to SDST have also been cited in recent years. According to a Cambridge University study published in 2009, moving to SDST would cut carbon emissions by 450,000 tonnes each year. The energy saved would be equivalent to 85 per cent of all the power generated by wind, wave and solar renewable energy in England.
… it is time for the issue to come off the shelf and for the full implications to be considered.
Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA chief executive, said: “We need to keep the momentum behind this long-running campaign. In view of the reports published in 2009, plus casualty data, we will continue to call for a change which, we believe, would save lives and reduce injuries.
“More pedestrians are killed and injured in the afternoon and early evening than in the morning. Therefore, by moving to SDST, vulnerable road users like children walking home from school would have an extra hour of daylight in which to make their journeys.
“It is time for the issue to come off the shelf and for the full implications to be considered.”
RoSPA recommends a trial is run for 2-3 years to provide objective, up-to-date evidence about the effects of SDST. It would also enable the public and the industry and business sectors which would be affected to experience the change for themselves.
RoSPA continues to encourage pedestrians and cyclists to ensure they can be seen and motorists to watch their speed and keep an extra look out for vulnerable road users.
British Summer Time (BST) starts this morning, Sunday 28 March 2010. After a long hard winter we are at last back to what I’d call British Sensible Time – or, to be more explicit, actually British (energy) Sustainable Time.
We know, all the established and critical benefits to health, safety and business apart, that using summer settings for our clocks the full year round would save energy as well.
We need to drop the silliness about Scottish cows (only a minority even of the Scots want to keep BST as it is, and they could do so anyway if they wished) and about not being like the continental Europeans (they’re human beings too), and start looking at the real, increasingly urgent, situation. The evidence has been examined over and over again (see here). In the energy stakes every little truly does matter.
Let’s put aside the urban myths and unsubstantiated dramatic demands when permanent BST was last tried, around 1970, for reflective waistcoats for children going to school. Something sensible must be done, and soon.
As they say, it’s time to get real and move on…. to permanent British Summer Time.
This is the day and date when the clocks go ‘back’. We have an extra hour in bed on Sunday morning, and then… darkness an hour earlier until next Spring. And most of us will miss the dawning of the day as well, since the majority of people in the UK no longer keep agrarian hours. So let’s do something about using daylight in the best way, in the modern world: Sign the No 10 Petition for ‘better use of sun’.
The petition for ‘Daylight Saving’ – i.e. keeping British Summer Time (BST) all year long – is here [http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/betteruseofsun/].
We have already discussed in detail on this website the safety, energy, health, leisure and other benefits of not going into the grimness of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) every Winter. Let’s make it clear that (as is in fact the case according to surveys *) most of us would welcome a continuation of ‘summertime’ hours.
Watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets offers aesthetic reasons for keeping summertime hours. But there are many hard-headed reasons too; and if you still doubt this, just check out for yourself with bodies such as RoSPA – or indeed read the views of Sir Stuart Hampson, who, as chairman of the John Lewis Partnership from 1993 to 2007, surely knows a thing or two about looking carefully at the facts.
Who can really argue, when the evidence is so clear? In Sir Stuart’s words,
Daylight is precious. Let’s stop wasting it. If we didn’t put the clocks back we could cut crime, keep fitter – and reduce carbon emissions.
And enjoy more sunrises….
* 4,215 people took part in an online vote on RoSPA’s website between 24 October and 2 November 2006. The vast majority (86%) supported this change. Of those who voted, 3,625 voted ‘Yes’, 548 voted ‘No’ and 42 voted ‘Don’t Know’.
Dates for 2008 – 2011 when at 2 a.m. the clocks go back (October) and forward (March) by one hour in the UK are:
In 2008: the Sundays of 30 March and 26 October
In 2009: the Sundays of 29 March and 25 October
In 2010: the Sundays of 28 March and 31 October
In 2011: the Sundays of 27 March and 30 October
Read more about BST: British Summer Time & ‘Daylight Saving’
We’ve reached the Summer Solstice or Longest Day, but still the demand for more evening light, energy savings and greater road safety yearlong won’t go away. Now it’s the turn of Senators in Jersey to try to align their community with Central European Time, which we Brits call Double Summer Time. And U.K. politicians too are thinking again. Given the many benefits of CET, let’s hope this time endorsement of the idea is compelling. Perhaps where Jersey leads the U.K. may follow? …
The Channel Islands, Guernsey and Jersey, enjoy a close connection with France, lying just off the French coast of Normandy. But whilst these very pleasant isles are not in the United Kingdom, they are geographically part of the British Isles and largely English-speaking, with a strong financial link to the U.K. economy.
It is very interesting, therefore, that Jersey is to hold a referendum on proposals to move the island to Central European Time.
This is so-called Daylight Saving with serious intent. Central European Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in the Summer, and one hour ahead in Winter.
A long-contested idea
This proposal has been around for many years, in Jersey and Guernsey, and in mainland Britain.
The ideas behind the proposal have been well rehearsed, whether in the U.K. Parliament, repeatedly by RoSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, or indeed on this very website.
We know, as RoSPA constantly reminds us, that moving permanently to lighter evenings would overall reduce accidents, enhance health (more opportunities for exercise), help the economy -especially the evening economy, and tourism – and save energy.
In the U.K., more people support the change to Central European Time than do not; and even in Scotland, location of the darkest mornings and as it happens also the most SAD: seasonal affective disorder, at least 40% are still in favour of change. (Tim Yeo‘s proposed but failed Bill of 2007 accommodated demands that the U.K. devolved administrations, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, could opt out of CET anyway, should they so wish.)
But still the foot-dragging continues, with a feeling in some quarters that it’s ‘not British’ to adopt CET, or maybe that it’s an affront to our agrarian heritage.
But the new element in all this is that the Conservatives – often hostile to anything ‘European’ – are now reported to be thinking of adopting proposals for CET (i.e., ‘Abandon Greenwich Meantime’, in the words of The Telegraph) in their next manifesto.
A way to CET?
Well, I really hope this happens. It has been said that Jersey, whilst keen to move to CET, is worried about how things will work out if the U.K. doesn’t do the same.
If we can somehow forget odd ideas about Britishness and ‘Europe’, and instead concentrate on issues of environmental sustainability, health and safety, we will do much better.
One way to start would be to move swiftly to Double British Summertime in Summer, as part of the change to adopt Central European Time throughout the year.
Read more articles on BST: British Summer Time & ‘Daylight Saving’ (The Clocks Go Back & Forward)
U.K. clocks go forward on Sunday morning, 30 March ’08, and the lighter evenings which British Summer Time brings will cheer up almost everyone. But there would also be many other anticipated benefits, from road safety to energy conservation and healthier lifestyles, were we to keep ‘Daylight Saving’ all year. A Downing Street petition has now been set up to urge a continuous BST trial period of three years, with research to establish the extent of these benefits.
‘Daylight Saving’ is an issue which won’t go away. And now there’s a Petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to not to let that precious extra hour of afternoon light go away in the Winter either.
Downing Street petition
The Downing Street petition aims to ‘make better use of the limited daylight we receive’. It reads as follows:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to consider a change to the current system of British Summer Time / Greenwich Mean Time (BST/GMT). This could consist of a trial period (similar to that adopted 1968 to 1971) and could take the form of a move to year round BST, or a 1 hour shift to GMT+1/GMT+2. Research shows that such a move could reduce carbon dioxide emissions, reduce road deaths, facilitate business with Europe, potentially boost tourism, increase outdoor activity, promote healthier lifestyles and enhance the well being of UK citizens.
You can read more detail of the Petition, and / or sign it, here.
BST Facebook group
There is also a Facebook group, set up like the Downing Street petition by Dave Alexander, which seeks to ‘raise support of and debate the possibilities and benefits regarding changes / trials of different time zone options for Britain…..This could reduce carbon dioxide emissions, reduce road deaths, facilitate business with Europe, potentially boost tourism, increase outdoor activity, promote healthier lifestyles and enhance the well being of UK citizens.‘
An enduring idea
This is by no means a new proposal, as we have already established very firmly on this website, but the need to get some action becomes greater with each year. If further debate is needed, the BST: British Summer Time & ‘Daylight Saving’ section of this weblog remains a forum where everyone from the South coast to scattered Scottish isles is welcome to share their ideas.
Discussion is however no substitute for evidence-based action. Health, energy sustainability and accident prevention are too important to ignore.
This article was also published as a New Start external blog.
Read more: BST: British Summer Time & ‘Daylight Saving’ (The Clocks Go Back & Forward)
‘Incremental’ is the mode of choice when we talk about the massive changes required for the sustainability of ourselves and our planet. People find it hard to make large or sudden changes, so we try to do them bit by bit. Seen like this, the benefits of daylight ‘saving’, keeping lighter evenings, become increasingly compelling.
The big health news of the past week or two has been obesity… how it’s becoming an epidemic and how difficult it will be to reverse the demands which people being overweight put on the health services and on the exchequer.
Then we are told that we must conserve energy in every way possible. Carbon expenditure must, urgently, be reduced, climate change is happening even more quickly than we had thought.
Looking for solutions
In these contexts it is surprising that the sensible advice about behaviour adaption – go gently, to take people with you – has not yet been applied to the benefits of ‘daylight saving’.
We know that lighter evenings offer more encouragement for people to take exercise; we know that the extra light also reduces fuel demands. (Jim Fiore estimated recently that in the US context ‘only’ 0.25% savings would be achieved – but that’s a massive amount of oil which could be conserved with no effort by anyone.)
Joined up thinking
The clocks go back on Sunday, tomorrow, 28 October, at 2 a.m. From then on until next March (British Summer Times begins on 30 March, with the new US Daylight Saving Time starting on 9 March) we shall have afternoon murk.
Scottish farmers may be happy with these murky afternoons, and they are of course welcome to any arrangement the Scottish Parliament wants to make. For the rest of us, a bit of (evening) light needs to be shed on the subject of incremental health and energy improvements.
The full debate about BST is in the section of this website entitled
BST: British Summer Time & ‘Daylight Saving’ (The Clocks Go Back & Forward)…..
Making The Most Of Daylight Saving: Research On British Summer Time
Save Our Daylight: Victor Keegan’s Pledge Petition
The Clocks Go Forward…And Back… And Forward…
British Summer Time Draws To A Close
Time Is Energy (And ‘Clocks Forward’ Daylight Uses Less)
The Clocks Go Forward … But Why, Back Again?
Join the discussion of this article which follows the book E-store…
British Summer Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday 25th March this year (2007). Surveys suggest that both safety and energy saving would ensue from BST year-round, and a large majority of people will welcome the lighter evenings. But why have we just had to endure five months of days which end before the afternoon teabreak?
The evidence becomes ever more compelling…. As the Transport Research Laboratory has demonstrated over many years, British Summer Time is indeed best for almost all of us.
There are inevitably risks in any change, but sometimes the biggest risk lies in Doing Nothing. That’s what applies to the odd practice of reducing afternoon daylight (in favour of ‘lighter mornings’) at the very point in the year when there is already least of it.
The 1968 – 71 ‘experiment’
The oft-recycled stories about children ‘hating’ having to wear fluorescent jackets because of the super-dangerous mornings during the ‘experiment’ of 1968 – 71 are selective recall, I’d suggest. I don’t think I ever saw one child so clad.
But the debate goes on. And recently, as the TheyWorkForYou.com website admirably demonstrates, Tim Yeo MP has been proposing Single / Double Summer Time, which has incensed some even more.
The Scottish dimension
We know of course that there are people in Scotland who would prefer to keep the status quo, regardless of the proven greater overall risks of accidents, depression and poor health, but with devolved government, as Tim Yeo and before him Lord Tanlaw acknowledged, these can surely be addressed by those most involved.
But even in Scotland opinion is divided and the evidence for the status quo doesn’t fully stack up (unless Scottish cows have learnt to tell the time and will rumble their herdsman adjusting
the alarm clock to keep their bovine stock’s milking hours stable…).
As Tim Yeo and Lord Tanlaw have emphasised, even in Scotland there are plenty of people who would prefer the lighter evenings, whilst YouGov have found (December 2006) that 51% of workers feel less safe travelling home in the dark, with 71% of women saying the dark makes them feel uncertain and worried.
Likewise, when Victor Keegan ran a campaign a few months ago, he easily achieved his objective of 50 people asking their MPs to support Tim Yeo’s bill. On energy saving grounds alone there are compelling reasons to suppose we should abandon British Mean Time. A majority of those voting supported it, but Tim Yeo’s non-party Bill fell on 26 January
2007 because it did not gain more than one hundred votes.
Another way forward?
So what’s holding things up? There are rather feeble claims (see TheyWorkForYou.com, as above) that an experiment in Portugal was not successful, but perhaps political nervousness about Scottish issues is, short-term, at the heart of the matter.
There is, however, a very simple and easy way to resolve things once and for all. Why not actually undertake a serious Government-led enquiry into all the evidence available, on energy, accidents, health, business and other impacts, examining England (and Wales and Northern Ireland) separately from Scotland?
And let’s ask for the report to be produced by Sunday 28 October 2007, before the next grim return to Winter darkness, when
British Summer Time is due to end. This, it seems to me, is a genuinely good example of when policy can indeed be informed by best practice in natural and social scientific research.
It really does need to be done, and soon.
The full debate about BST is in the section of this website entitled BST: British Summer Time & ‘Daylight Saving’ (The Clocks Go Back & Forward)…..
Save Our Daylight: Victor Keegan’s Pledge Petition
The Clocks Go Forward…And Back… And Forward…
British Summer Time Draws To A Close
Time Is Energy (And ‘Clocks Forward’ Daylight Uses Less)
The Clocks Go Forward … But Why, Back Again?
Read the discussion of this article which follows the book E-store…