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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 12:11 GMT
Peer fights for longer daytimes
Clock
Clocks go forward an hour in the early hours of Sunday
More than 400 people could be saved from death or serious injury each year if the way the UK changes the clocks is altered, says a peer pushing the move.

Lord Tanlaw is urging a three-year trial of "double summertime", claiming it would mean lighter evenings and be of huge benefit to road safety.

His Lighter Evenings Experiment Bill, which goes before the Lords on Friday, is backed by safety campaigners.

Clocks go forward at 0100GMT on Sunday, marking the official end of winter.

'Write to MPs'

Lord Tanlaw's system would mean clocks no longer reverted to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in October, but would stay one hour ahead until March. Another hour would then be added until the following October.

The changes would give an extra hour of evening daylight throughout the year.

Lighter evenings will also allow school children time to boot a ball about before going down the chippie or slumping in front of the family TV
Lord Tanlaw

But opponents warn of the longer hours of darkness on winter mornings, especially in Scotland, the north of England and Northern Ireland.

This, they say, might lead to an increase in road accidents

However, Lord Tanlaw, who wants people to write to their MP in support of his proposals, says the scheme could save 100 lives a year and 300 injuries.

"The reason for doing this is to improve the quality of life for the majority of people and also to reduce the number of road accidents per year," he said.

"Some 18% of accident involving school children occur in the mornings and 84% in the dark evenings after school.

"Even if it saves one life a year, I think this bill will have been worth it."

The lighter evenings would also help tourism and business and have the "added bonus" of bringing the UK into line with much of Europe, he said.

Government opposed?

It could lead to safer streets as most street crime occurs after dark and would save energy as electric lights would not be on as long.

"Lighter evenings will also allow school children time to boot a ball about before going down the chippie or slumping in front of the family TV," he said.

Just consider the benefit to the Olympics themselves in having an extra hour of daylight in which to hold the events
Colin Dawson
BALPPA

A poll of more than 1,500 politicians, including MPs, peers, MEPs, MSPs and Welsh Assembly men and women, suggests a majority in support of the bill, he said.

But last year Science Minister Lord Sainsbury signalled his rejection of the bill, which receives its second reading on Friday.

He said the plan had been tried between 1968 and 1971 and abandoned.

However, Lord Tanlaw, a crossbencher, who is also a proprietor of a railway engineering group, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the British Horological Institute, says he wants to see evidence that the plan would not work now.

Roger Vincent, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), backs the measure, saying it is a campaign the group has been behind for years.

"If you have lighter evenings all year round it's better in terms of road safety," he said.

"It will be better for school children and older people, who will be able to return home from the shops in daylight."

Olympic bid

The move is also backed by BALPPA, which represents Britain's leading leisure parks, seaside piers and visitor attractions.

Chief executive Colin Dawson said: "An extra hour on the clocks in summer would create the opportunity for British tourism to operate an extra hour a day.

"In addition, the government is naturally anxious that Britain performs well in the Olympic medal tables in 2012, and longer evenings will enable many athletes to train longer.

"Just consider the benefit to the Olympics themselves in having an extra hour of daylight in which to hold the events."


SEE ALSO:
'Lighter evenings' plan rejected
07 Nov 05 |  UK Politics
A mean time for doctors
24 Sep 01 |  Health


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