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Politics | Howards Way

Politics: Changes to Daylight Saving Time called by RoSPA

Contributed by editor on Mar 18, 2010 - 08:20 AM

Howards Way

Howard's Way.... a weekly column from the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC. MP.

18 March 2010

On Monday I attended the annual lunch of the Association of Amusement Parks at the House of Commons. This is an opportunity for this important part of our tourism industry to make their pitch to MPs and both the Tourism Minister and the Conservative Shadow Minister were there.

Shepway was well represented as indeed it should be. Port Lympne is only one of the many attractions we have which contribute to the local economy.

One of the main issues discussed was Daylight Saving Time.

The proposal for the change which is most often advances is for Single/ Double Summertime. Under this proposal we would be 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in winter and 2 hours ahead in summer. This would mean darker mornings and lighter evenings and is strongly supported by the tourism industry.

The main argument in favour of the change, however, is based on safety. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has long argued that a change of this kind would save lives.

The evidence for this is based on a trial which took place between 1968 and 1971 though the basis of that trial was that we remained one hour ahead of GMT all year.

This change led to an increase in casualties in the morning but a substantially greater decrease in the evenings with a total of around 2,500 fewer people killed and seriously injured during the first two winters of the experiment. ROSPA have called for another trial and the traditional opposition of farmers, especially in the north of Scotland, seems to have weakened.

One other advantage of the Single/Double Summertime proposal would be to harmonise our time with most European countries, something which a large number of industrial and commercial groups see as a significant advantage.

It is obviously too late for a change, or even a trial, to be decided on in the current Parliament. But it is something that is likely to be considered quite early in the new Parliament. It will be a very interesting debate.

© Hawkinge Gazette and Channel Coast News 2010