Category Archives: Quick Blog
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.
Where are the experts when you need them? The BBC reports today that climate change scepticism is on the increase. Apparently only 26% of 1001 Britons asked this month think climate change is happening and is now established as largely man made – a massive drop of 15% since just last November, when those agreeing with this statement constituted 41% of the respondents.
The Government wants to set up 3,500 Sure Start Children’s Centres by 2010; so it’s good news that most Merseyside local authorities have hit their targets a year early, with a large majority of parents of under-fives expressing high satisfaction with the service. Early on there were concerns about councils ‘taking over’ the development of Children’s Centres from the semi-autonomous Sure Start schemes. On reflection, integration of health, education and social services can in reality only be achieved with strong leadership from the top.
Early Years & Sure Start.
The next step is to embed this service so it’s an essential part of the support all children require. That’s a task which only concerted effort from the top can achieve.
Read more about Early Years & Sure Start.
Your views are welcome.
So David Cameron says he’d like to see UK referenda on local taxation and much else; whilst another Conservative says they want to do away with regional development agencies – though local councils may thereafter join up to reinstate these if they wish. But some of us recall the damage done to northern parts by the abolition in 1986 of the Metropolitan County Councils, and the energy invested later on in having to re-create the regional development agenda. Will local democracy really be enhanced by taking decision-making away from elected councillors?
Read more about Political Process & Democracy.
Your views are welcome.
What does the recent ‘proper snow‘ in the UK tell us about the society and communities we live in? Should we be glad that families stayed together for the day, enjoying snowmen and tobogganing? Or must we lament the fact that schools and buses closed, in truth to save on insurance claims? Should we all now be home-based workers or work closer to home? And does the snow belie the claims of those who fear global warming, or does this weather simply demonstrate that most of us have a lot still to understand about climate fluctuations within general trends?
Read more about Sustainability As If People Mattered.
Your views are welcome.