Monday, 28 November 2011

Here comes the sun

It went largely unreported by the general media but late into the night of 22 November the UK's Daylight Saving Bill cleared another hurdle.

Parliament granted what's called a 'money resolution', procedural geekery but crucial for it to move ahead, which means it is now with a committee of MPs to thrash out the fine details over the coming weeks.

Business minister Mark Prisk stated the Government will support the bill - proposed by Conservative MP Rebecca Harris - aimed at moving Britain's clocks forward by an hour all year round so long as amendments to the legislation are agreed.

Evidence for the positive effects of shifting the clocks forward by an hour has mounted in recent years, with the latest academic research showing that the change could save over 80 lives and at least half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

Knock-on benefits of reduced electricity bills, improved health and a boost for the leisure and tourism sector mean that lighter evenings now have a wider range of supporters than ever.

From tourism trade bodies to road safety campaigners, and from sporting organisations to serving government ministers, a new and diverse movement for lighter evenings is growing day by day.

Meanwhile opposition to the change is melting. Today, the old arguments about milkmen and postal workers needing early-morning sunlight to carry out deliveries look exactly like what they are – arguments from the 1970s.

The National Farmers Union, which had been a vocal critic of earlier proposals, recently announced that the reasons for farmers' past opposition to advancing the clocks had been ‘lost in history'.

With the next big Parliamentary vote just around the corner, the 10:10 Lighter Later campaign I stepping up its efforts to argument right across the UK by funding coalition meetings in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Its £5,000 fund target for the next phase was surpassed in just a few days and Lighter Later is now hoping to raise £7,500 to support its lobbying efforts.

Daniel Vockins, 10:10's campaign manager, said: "This is an idea whose time has come. All we need now is one big push from the British public.

"We commissioned research into a whole host of policy measures through which government could rapidly and painlessly reduce UK emissions. Reforming daylight savings hours came out top because of its substantial energy savings and a whole host of co-benefits."