All Year British Summertime, Anybody?

All Year British Summertime, Anybody?

27th October 2014

The clocks have just gone back, giving us an extra hour to lie in last Sunday and with most of us needing a few days just to get used to the switch.  The dog or cat may think he needs feeding an hour earlier because he won’t have a clue about the clocks going back.  Those of us who are usually a bit disorganised may not have noticed until sometime later on Sunday, happily going through the day unaware until we miss a favourite programme on TV.  Whether you like the fact that the clocks change or not, you’ll certainly notice the darker evenings drawing in.  

Many times here in the UK, it’s been suggested that we keep the clocks an hour ahead of GMT all year round and this subject has been debated in Parliament.  There are pros and cons to this idea.

 

CONS OF BRITISH SUMMER TIME ALL YEAR

 

  • DARK MORNING DANGERS – While those who are pro BST argue that the darker evenings are dangerous, so do those who are against it argue that children walking to school in the mornings would be more at risk in the dark.
  • WELL-BEING – Both sides also argue for the health benefits of more sunlight which increases the synthesis of Vitamin D and reduces the likelihood of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Those who are in favour of summer only BST want the extra hour at a different time.
  • BENEFITS FOR EARLY BIRDS – Lighter mornings are usually preferred by early risers, especially those who work in the postal service, the construction industry and farmers.
  • SCOTLAND – This is one of the biggest obstacles to the change - in some parts of Scotland, the sun would not come up until 10:00 am.  If they’d voted Yes to independence recently, they could have set their own time anyway.

 

PROS OF BRITISH SUMMER TIME ALL YEAR

 

  • HEALTH – Overall public health could improve according to research which found that daily activity levels are 15% - 20% higher on summer days rather than on winter days and that moving the clocks back as we do results in a 5% drop in physical activity.
  • TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS – Recent research maintains that an average 100 lives would be saved each year if we had an extra hour of daylight on winter evenings.  The AA backs the campaign for year round BST in the UK as it would increase road safety.
  • CRIME – More than half of criminal offences take place during the hours of darkness, late afternoon and evening.  Campaigners believe that lighter evenings could reduce crime (and the fear of crime).
  • ENERGY – A study carried out by University of Cambridge researchers discovered that an extra hour of sunlight daily in the winter evenings may collectively save up to a whopping £485 million every year in electricity bills.
  • LEISURE AND TOURISM – The campaign is backed by the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions because tourism earnings are likely to rise by up to £3.5 billion annually.
  • BUSINESS OVERSEAS – Moving the clocks forward an hour and maintaining year round BST would bring the UK in line with Central European Time (CET).  This would have a beneficial effect on business with Europe.