RoSPA calls for time-shift to increase year-round evening sunlight

12.00 | 27 October 2016 | | 5 comments

Ahead of the clocks ‘going back’ this weekend, RoSPA has issued its now traditional call for a ‘time-shift fit for the 21st century’ in order to improve safety for pedestrians.

British Summer Time (BST) was introduced 100 years ago in order to make the most of daylight hours during the First World War. However, RoSPA says the system has become ‘obsolete’ and for some years has been campaigning for a change from the current regime of GMT in the winter and GMT+1 in the summer, to Single/Double Summer Time (SDST).

In effect, this would move clocks forward to GMT+1 in the winter, and GMT+2 in the summer, increasing evening sunlight year-round.

In the past, this move has been actively supported by Road Safety GB, and other stakeholders including Brake and IAM RoadSmart.

In 2012, campaigners hoping to get UK clocks moved forward by an hour all year round accused a small group of MPs of talking a Private Member’s Bill out of time.

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.

RoSPA says that in the autumn, when the clocks go back, road casualties rise – particularly among vulnerable road users including pedestrians, children, the elderly, cyclists and motorcyclists.

The charity points to statistics which show that in 2015, pedestrian deaths rose from 27 in September to 42 in October, 45 in November and 58 in December. RoSPA says that adopting SDST would save around 80 lives and 212 serious injuries annually.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “Child pedestrians are particularly vulnerable during the afternoon school run, when they digress on their way home and are exposed to traffic risk for longer than their morning trip to school.

“During that period motorists are also tired after the day’s work, concentration levels are low, and journey times are increased due to shopping and social trips.

“For these reasons, increased evening daylight would produce significant results in preventing accidents to children and other road users.”




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    Thank you for that tool, that is most useful. However, I fail to see what the need to repeat an experiment is, given that it was already tried at least three times – and each of those it did not stick.

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    This proposal would be a move to Berlin Time which Hitler imposed on France when he conquered it in 1940. This is not the natural time for the UK and moving to this with its dark mornings would mean children starting school in the dark as they do in France now.

    Robert Bolt
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Ann is spot on with her focus on the available hours of daylight in different latitudes. But there certainly is a north-south factor in this debate: on the shortest day in mid-December there are 8 hrs of daylight in Brighton and Falmouth, 7 hrs 20 minutes in York and Belfast and 5 hrs 50 minutes in Lerwick.

    This should not be characterised as a Scotland v England issue – the effects change gradually as you travel northwards and the north of England and Northern Ireland are just as affected as southern Scotland.

    To get a good visual representation of this, try this website where you just insert the place you want to look at and the website does the rest:

    Ultimately there has to be an assessment of the potential benefits in terms of fewer deaths and injuries on the roads compared to the practical impact and inconvenience this would cause to industries such as agriculture and in different parts of the country.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Taken from the RoSPA Website

    “It would be bad for people living in the North/West/Scotland.

    This is not really a North-South debate as the majority of us broadly share the same longitudinal position and our country lies on a North-South axis. It could certainly be an East-West debate and people in Northern Ireland and the Western Isles make a good point – some aspects of SDST on them might prove negative – but again there are potential adjustments that could be made to working hours etc, which need to be explored. However, if we are to share one time zone (and most people think we should), then it would make sense to optimise time for the benefit of the vast majority and so there needs to be a balance of interests. But overall, as a society, we would gain a lot, even the people who live out west.

    However, I would add a point regarding the North-South argument which is the principal stumbling block to change. The further north you live, the less your available winter daylight and so the more important it is to optimise that daylight – the current regime squanders morning daylight and limits winter evening daylight, so a move to SDST would benefit people in the north the most. The many other benefits of SDST (see below) would be felt more keenly in the north and so there is more to be gained for those living in the higher latitudes of the UK, by making the change. This is the reverse of what we are generally told, but it does make sense – the further north you live, the more precious is the optimisation of your winter daylight.”

    Ann, Cardiff
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    What about Scotland? Do they not deserve daylight in the mornings?

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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