Page last updated at 10:44 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 11:44 UK

Tundra time call in clocks debate

Sunset
The clocks go back at the weekend, giving more daylight in the morning

A prominent historian has called for the UK to adopt the same time zone as the rest of central Europe, leaving Scotland to its own "tundra time".

Sir Alistair Horne said it was "absolutely crazy" for the UK to have a different time zone from the rest of central Europe.

The clocks will be put back one hour on Sunday, providing more daylight in the morning but making the evenings darker.

Sir Alistair said it might benefit Scotland but not the rest of the UK.

He told the BBC's Today programme: "The Scots do have a problem because, being that much nearer the North Pole, they do have a very short day.

"But when you look at the map of time zones it is absolutely crazy."

Sir Alistair said Central European time stretched "from the eastern frontier of Poland to the western frontier of Spain" and Britain and Ireland were on the same western time zone as Portugal.

Own decisions

Sir Alistair, who said he was 99% Scottish, said the rest of the UK should not lose an hour of evening daylight just because Scottish farmers did not want to milk in the dark.

He said the Scottish argument had traditionally been that it made it safer for children going to school in the morning.

However, he claimed more children were run over when they were returning from school tired and in the dark.

The historian said the progress of devolution and the release of Lockerbie bomber Abelbasset al-Megrahi had led him to think that Scotland could take its own decisions and the rest of the UK should no longer be tied to a time zone which does not suit it.

He said Scotland could have its own "tundra time".

Tundra is a geological term relating to a vast treeless zone with permanently frozen subsoil.

Sir Alistair said the rest of the UK could adopt a more fitting time zone.

He cited the example of the Eurostar link between London and Paris.

"You can be in France in 21 minutes but you have to change your clocks and work out when all your appointments are," he said.



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