Campaigners have accused a small group of MPs of talking the Daylight Saving Bill out of the House of Commons. Some say there are a number of environmental benefits from adding an extra hour throughout the year. Charlotte Reid finds out if this has become a missed opportunity.
A chance to move the clocks forward an hour all year round was scuppered in the House of Commons as the legislation ran out of time.
Campaigners who were supportive of the Daylight Saving Bill have accused a small group of MPs of talking the bill out of time on Friday January 20th.
Rebecca Harris, a Conservative MP who sponsored the Bill in the Commons told the Guardian, “The clear will of the House was for the bill to proceed.
“It had amazing cross-party support out in the country. I had hoped there would be a ‘what’s not to like’ aspect of this, simply to ensure we had a really good quality review and something we could then have a debate on.”
If the bill had been passed it would have led to a detailed study into the benefits of moving the clocks forward to Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour in the winter and plus two hours in the summer. There would also have been a three year trial.
The Lighter Later campaign says there are a host of benefits to bringing the UK’s clocks forward by an hour throughout the year. These benefits vary from cutting Co2 emissions by at least 447,000 tonnes a year, creating 80,000 new jobs in leisure and tourism and lowering the cost of electricity bills, as more daylight hours means there is less need to use the lights.
Dr Elizabeth Garnsey, who teaches at the University of Cambridge and was part of a 2010 study showing the positives of moving the clocks forward spoke to Blue & Green Tomorrow last year about the idea.
She said, “There is evidence for the costs of GMT – which are the result of more people being awake and active in the late afternoon or early evening than in the early morning.
“For this reason, timing sunset an hour earlier in winter causes more road accidents [and] has adverse effects for outdoor activity, health, crime and tourism, among other spheres.”
This explains why Tom Mullarkey, chief executive of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), says the politicians who delayed the Bill in parliament should “be ashamed that their contrived interventions have scuppered this opportunity”.
Figures from the Department for Transport show that just an extra hour of daylight in the evening throughout the year could prevent around 80 deaths and 200 serious injuries on the roads.
Mullarkey said, “It is outrageous that a proposal with so much support, and that has the potential to save lives, create jobs and cut carbon emissions, has effectively been wrecked by just two or three politicians”.
But all is not lost. The Lighter Later campaign is asking people to write to the Leader of the House, Sir George Young, because he decides what gets debated in the house and when. Although they are calling it a ‘long shot’, they say on their website, “If we pull it off, we’ll have saved the bill and shown Friday’s timewasters that they can’t put us off so easily”.
In the cold, dark winter months it is second nature to turn on the lights and the heating. As the Government aren’t changing the winter hours any time soon, consider using home grown energy from Good Energy to reduce your emissions and be friendlier to the planet.
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