Charities call for permanent clock change

12.15 | 22 March 2012 | | 3 comments

With the clocks moving forward this Sunday (25 March) Brake and GEM Motoring Assist are calling on the Government to make it ‘Lighter Later’ all year round.

Brake says this would mean fewer daylight hours ‘wasted’ during early morning when most people are asleep, and reduced danger to pedestrians and cyclists through the winter months.

The Lighter Later campaign had been gathering momentum over the past year, with 26,300 people having written to their MP in support. However, in January, the Daylight Saving Bill, which would have compelled the Government to review and act upon the evidence on the impact of changing the clocks, was ‘timed out’ in the Commons.

The Bill had the support of more than 90 organisations and 120 MPs who all voted to pass the motion; just 10 attending MPs were against, but the session ran out of time before the motion could be passed.

GEM and Brake are calling on more members of the public to sign up in support of the campaign at ‘’, to keep up pressure on the Government.

Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: “Brake is urging the Government to put the clocks forward by an hour throughout the year, to make the evenings lighter and our communities safer, happier places.

“We waste too much precious daylight when most of us are asleep. Changing the clocks would mean it stays lighter later in the day, so we have more daylight when most people are awake. The effect would be safer roads in the afternoons and evenings, when many are walking and cycling home from school or work and need to be seen by drivers.

“The change would also promote healthier lifestyles and stronger communities as it would encourage more people to get out and about on foot and bicycle.”

David Williams MBE, CEO of GEM Motoring Assist, said: “We were bitterly disappointed by the outcome of the Daylight Saving Bill earlier this year. However, we continue to show our unwavering support for the Lighter Later campaign, particularly as May approaches; a time when the campaign has another chance to be put forward to Parliament.

“However, the campaign needs as much backing as possible, so we urge road users, businesses, campaigners and MPs to help push it forward. Knowing that we can act now to reduce road accident rates, which continue to rise each autumn directly after the clocks go back, is a key reason to support the campaign. Introducing lighter evenings throughout the year will make our roads a safer place by increasing visibility and, in turn, help to reduce the dangers to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.”



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    Given that the majority of casualties occur in broad daylight and in fine weather between April and October (particularly vulnerbale road users like child pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists) where is the data that shows such a huge change would have a significant benefit? Many people are injured during the morning and evening commute but these occur all year round.

    Dave, Leeds
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    This campaign is based entirely on the collision and casualty data that shows a significant connection between dark mornings and increased casualty numbers and proposes a measure that would make a worthwhile reduction to those numbers. Living in North Yorkshire, I can testify to a midwinter where daybreak is after 8.30am and dusk again by 3.30pm, so just 7 hours of daylight and 17 hours of darkness. More importantly, it is actually six months of the year when there is more darkness than daylight and, north of the Midlands, where we have longer hours of darkness and shorter days than in the south of England, this is a significant issue in terms of casualties on our roads. No EU based conspiracy just a practical proposal to reduce casualties that is worth serious consideration.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    This “lighter later” campaign is no more than a non too subtle attempt to “harmonise” this country with the rest of the E.U. by bringing our time into line with that in Europe. Anyone who has to get up to go to work or school will confirm that they are not in bed in the mornings in winter when it is light. As for evenings, there is only a short period when it gets dark particularly early in the afternoon and this scarcely affects children since it falls during the Christmas holidays. It would not affect evening rush hour traffic since it would be dark by then whatever system we were on.

    Those in favour appear to imply that just switching our time to that of Europe would somehow mean we had light evenings until 10pm and everyone would be travelling home (on foot or by bicycle apparently), not through the freezing cold and rain and snow and grey skies of a typical winter, but in daylight in glorious Mediterranean sunshine. This is obviously untrue – palpable nonsense, in fact.

    The telling argument against this is the simple fact that on the Continent there is no eagerness to convert to Russian time despite the fact that the same so-called benefits would surely apply.

    Kate, London
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