RoSPA has cautiously welcomed news that the EU is proposing to end the practice of adjusting clocks by an hour in spring and autumn, which it says would improve the safety of vulnerable road users.
In the UK, clocks follow Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) from October to March and British Summer Time (BST) – which is GMT+1 – from March to October.
For years, RoSPA has campaigned for change, saying that one of the consequences of the UK’s system is that more people are killed and injured on the road because of darker evenings in the autumn and winter.
RoSPA recommends the UK adopts Single/Double British Summertime (SDST) – GMT+1 during the winter months and GMT+2 in the summer – which would create lighter evenings all year round.
Alongside road safety benefits, RoSPA says the move would bring significant environmental, economic and health benefits.
The EU announcement follows a public consultation in which 84% of 4.6 million respondents called for ending the spring and autumn clock change. However, only 0.02% of respondents were from the UK – one of the lowest response rates.
Further to that, any change would be unlikely to happen before the UK leaves the EU.
While the EU Commission has not yet drafted details of the proposed change, in a consultation paper it said one option would be to let each member state decide whether to go for permanent summer or winter time.
Responding to the consultation, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said millions ‘believe that in future, summer time should be year-round, and that’s what will happen’.
Errol Taylor, RoSPA chief executive, said: “The proposal is in its very early stages, and there is much more detail yet to be announced that would need to be carefully considered before a definitive decision is made.
“However, every year in the UK we see a spike in the number of vulnerable road users killed or seriously injured in October and November – coinciding with the autumnal clock change when we revert to GMT, which means we suddenly have an hour less of daylight in the evenings.
“RoSPA campaigns for Single/Double Summer Time, which would see daylight savings retained but the adoption of GMT+2 in the summer and GMT+1 in the winter, giving us more usable daylight year-round – especially in the evenings.”
Way back in 2007, Road Safety GB – then known as LARSOA – campaigned for the Government to change to Double British Summer Time to ‘help all road users on their journeys from work or school’.