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Call for clocks to change earlier

29 March 08 17:01 GMT

The boss of Scotland's first national park has backed calls for the clocks to be moved forward an hour in February instead of the end of March.

Dr Mike Cantlay, convener of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, said the move would provide an hour's extra daylight throughout March.

He claimed starting British Summer Time a month earlier would make the streets safer for children in the evening.

The clocks went forward by an hour overnight between Saturday and Sunday.

Dr Cantlay's call was backed by local police officers, tourism workers and farmers.

Speaking on BBC Scotland's Landward programme, Dr Cantlay said: "If it is right to change the clocks at the end of October, then surely it would make sense to change the clocks at the end of February when morning daylight is broadly similar.

"In short, we would like to see a consistent approach.

"This week the sun rises in the park before 6am with daylight soon after 5am yet it is dark around 7pm. We see no good reason in denying that extra hour of useable daylight in the evenings throughout March.

"Young people would see immediate benefits coming home from school in the daylight and being able to play outside for longer."

Dr Cantlay said it "seemed crazy" that Easter fell immediately before the clocks changed, denying visitors an extra hour of daylight during their spring breaks.

'Earlier start'

He added: "In terms of looking for smart ways of saving energy, surely the fact that most Scots are in their beds when the sun comes up is ludicrous when darkness falls between 6pm and 7pm."

Graeme Hawick of Can You Experience, an outdoor activity company based in Balloch, said he backed Dr Cantlay's position.

Mr Hawick said: "At the moment most families turn up in the afternoon to spend time in the park but within a few hours they have run out of daylight."

Farmer and National Park board member Janet Beveridge, who runs a sheep farm in Gartocharn, insisted: "An earlier start to spring would give farmers more time to work with their stock in the evenings."

Insp Brian Sharkey, of Central Scotland Police, said he believed more daylight in the evening would cut crime and help reduce anti-social behaviour.

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