The Daylight Saving Bill, which will give the UK more hours of daylight in the evenings, has passed its second reading at the House of Commons.
The private members bill championed by Rebecca Harris, Conservative MP, which is supported by Road Safety GB and a number of other road safety organisations, passed its second reading by 92 votes to 10. It will now proceed to committee stage.
Supporters of the bill say having lighter evenings would reduce road casualties, boost tourism revenues, promote sport and exercise and reduce energy use.
But critics fear a later sunrise makes the school run more dangerous and presents problems for farmers and outdoor workers, particularly in Scotland.
At the second reading, Rebecca Harris, said the bill could save up to 80 lives a year, mainly among children.
Rebecca Harris also referred to the winter-only trial of GMT plus one between 1968 and 1970 which allegedly led to an increase in road deaths, particularly among children going to school on dark winter mornings, as ‘simply not true.’
Ms Harris said: “Extensive research by the TRL found that, far from causing accidents – the view that led to the experiment being abandoned in panic – the change resulted in an astonishing 1,120 fewer people being killed or seriously injured during the affected hours.
“The principal reason behind those figures is that more accidents occur in the busy afternoon rush hour. There are currently three times as many accidents, particularly involving children, between three and six pm than between seven and 10 am.
“In the mornings, we tend to travel directly, we leave just as much time as we need to get to our destination and the roads are less busy. In the afternoons, we make much more complicated journeys and people are much less attentive -children, in particular, feel liberated after leaving school.
“That is why moving an extra hour of daylight into the dangerous, busy peak time for travel would be beneficial for road safety.”
Daniel Vockins, spokesperson for the Lighter Later campaign which is backing the bill, said: "Britain may be blanketed in snow, but the nation is one giant step closer to having more sunshine in our lives. This bill is proof that you can tackle climate change whilst making society better and happier."
Click here for more information on the Lighter Later campaign.
Or click here to view a copy of the second reading of the Daylight Saving Bill.