Thursday, January 25, 2007

Should we abandon GMT?

Apparently there is a Private Members Bill before parliament sponsored by Tory MP Tim Yeo's which proposes that clocks be moved forward an hour in England initially for a three year trial. We would continue with the practice of summer and winter time so winter time would effectively be GMT + 1 and summer time would be GMT + 2

This issue comes up from time to time and the same old arguments get trotted out each time. Farmers and Postal workers would be opposed. ROSPA is in favour because of the likely reduction in accidents. They claim that there would be 450 fewer road deaths and serious injuries every year if we switched.

Up until now I do not recall there being any mention of potential environmental benefits. However, this bill is called The Energy Saving (Daylight) Bill and Tim Yeo believes that it will cut electricity consumption and cut carbon emissions.

The BBC Online article on this which can be found here makes very little of the potential environmental benefits to be had but the article in The Guardian which can be found here is more forthcoming on the specifics stating that “A rough assessment reported in the journal Nature today shows that by aligning clocks with Europe, Britain is likely to save around £485m each year by using lights less in the afternoon and evening. The drop in energy consumption would trim carbon dioxide emissions by 170,000 tonnes, the equivalent of reducing the emissions of 70,000 people to zero for a year”

I think the vast majority of people would appreciate the extra daylight hours at the end of the day. I know I would and we can save lives and help the planet at the same time. Seems like common sense to me. So we won’t do that then will we? As a Private Members Bill this measure is likely to fall unless it receives government support.


Tom Papworth said...

Or (here's a radical suggestion) we could just change our working hours if we want more light, rather than messing with the time and imposing our favoured timing on others.

Tony Ferguson said...

I quite like that idea and in some jobs that might be possible assuming the employer would go along with it. Of course in other professions there may be a conflict with everyone else who is still running to the old time!