Friday, 28 October 2011

I welcome the Government's support for the Daylight Savings Bill today

Today the Government announced support for the Daylight Saving Bill – calling for a change to the way we set our clocks. As a long-time supporter of the bill, and the Lighter Later campaign behind it, I welcome the move.

Today's announcement will be warmly welcomed by the road safety organisations, sporting bodies, tourism industries and community groups that make up the 80 strong coalition backing the Lighter Later campaign. Evidence suggests that moving an hour of light from the early morning to the evening could make our roads safer, cut the UK’s carbon while boosting its economy and provide more time for leisure activities and sport.

"There's a lot further to go before we change our clocks but this announcement is a big step forward. The bill would mandate the UK Government to conduct a proper review of the evidence for and against changing the clocks. By rationally weighing up the evidence for reform, Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have the opportunity to become safer, healthier and more prosperous countries" said Daniel Vockins, Lighter Later campaign manager.
After passing its Second Reading in parliament back in December 2010, the bill is now set to receive government backing following amendments to ensure any change only happens with the full support of the devolved administrations. In a government announcement [today], Business Minster Ed Davey said:

It is only right that we at least look at what the potential economic and social benefits of any change might be. Lower road deaths, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and improved health have all been argued over the years as possible benefits. If there is strong evidence to support this then we should at least see what the possible benefits are.

Notes:
www.lighterlater.org
  1. The Lighter Later campaign is a coalition of over 80 organisations co-ordinated by the carbon cutting initiative 10:10. Together they call for a move of the UK’s clocks to GMT+1 in winter and GMT+2 in summer.
  2. Rebecca Harris MP introduced the Private Members Bill on 30 June 2010 to ‘require the Secretary of State to conduct a cross-Departmental analysis of the potential costs and benefits of advancing time by one hour for all, or for part of the year’ and ‘to require the Secretary of State to take certain action in the light of that analysis; and for connected purposes.’ The Bill passed Second Reading in the House of Commons on 3 December 2010.
  3. More information on the bill and the campaign behind it can be found at www.lighterlater.org


GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS SUPPORTING DAYLIGHT SAVINGS BILL

The Government is to consider supporting the Daylight Savings Private Members Bill which could eventually mean the advancing of time by one hour throughout the year across the country for a trial period, but only if there is UK wide consensus.

The Government is seeking amendments to the Bill, at the forthcoming Committee stage in the House of Commons, expected in early November. The Bill will need to be passed by both Houses by the end of the first session of Parliament, which ends in April 2012.

The most notable of these amendments will be to require the Secretary of State to consult the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales and to obtain the agreement of the devolved administration in Northern Ireland to any proposed trial. The Government would not, however, expect to introduce a trial if there was clear opposition in any part of the UK.

The Bill as drafted would require a review of the potential costs and benefits of advancing the clocks by one hour. It would then require the Secretary of State to bring forward legislation in Parliament to implement a trial advancement of the clocks by one hour, if a new Independent Commission concluded, in the light of the evidence, that this would be beneficial. Any trial would then last three years.

Further amendments to be tabled include changing the Independent Commission to an Independent Oversight Group who would advise the Secretary of State on the preparation of any report.
Business Minister Edward Davey said:

“This is an issue which affects everyone across the country so we cannot rush head first into this. As the Prime Minister has made clear we would need consensus from the devolved administrations if any change were to take place. We have therefore tabled amendments to the current Bill to make sure that it addresses these concerns.

“It is only right that we at least look at what the potential economic and social benefits of any change might be. Lower road deaths, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and improved health have all been argued over the years as possible benefits. If there is strong evidence to support this then we should at least see what the possible benefits are.”

This year, British Summer Time (BST) will end on Sunday 30 October at 2.00 am GMT throughout European Union Member States. The clocks go back giving an extra hour. This means that at 2.00 am (British Summer Time) the UK will move to 1.00 am GMT.