Continental shift? Institute of Advanced Motorists backs Lighter Later campaign + CTC and Sustransin favour too

Road safety charity's support comes a day ahead of Bill's second reading in Parliament

by Simon_MacMichael   December 2, 2010  

Street lamp without light (copyright Simon MacMichael).jpg

Road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has given its backing to the Lighter Later campaign and is urging MPs to support the initiative ahead of a second reading of “Lighter Later” Bill in Parliament tomorrow and Britian's biggest cycling organisation, the CTC is "broadly in favour" too and Sustrans has also given the thumbs up to a two year trial.

The campaign, which is being co-ordinated by the 10:10 carbon reduction initiative, is calling for UK time throughout the year to be brought forward one hour to provide an extra hour’s daylight in the evening.

That would put the clock one hour ahead of GMT in the winter months, and two hours in the summer, and bring Britain into line with Continental Europe.

Besides the IAM, the initiative is backed by a diverse range of businesses and other organisations including the AA, RoSPA, Sustrans, Living Streets, Road Safety GB and Brake.

IAM conducted a poll of more than 2,000 members and non-members which found that the majority backed introducing the new daylight hours system. It said that 40% believed that changing from the existing regime would lead to better quality of life by bringing about longer evenings and thus more time to engage in leisure pursuits.

A further 16% said the change would reduce the number of deaths on the roads, while 15% claimed that the principal benefit would be lower energy costs as a result of less need for lighting.

Neil Greig, IAM Director of Policy and Research commented: “The improvement this change might have on road safety is of primary importance. Anything that continues the downward trend in road deaths has got to be a good thing. Children are more likely to be out-and-about after school; an extra hour of daylight will make them more visible to road users.

“We urge MPs to back the three-year trial of the new daylight system. With over 40 per cent supporting a trial of the change, and a further 23 percent opting for an immediate and permanent move to this new system, it is clear that there is a lot of support for the bill.”

Mr Greig added: “If the trial period proves the new daylight hours to be a disadvantage, it is clear that the current system should be reinstated. However with convincing evidence of the potential benefits, it seems only right that a possibility for better living conditions is given a chance to run.”

National cyclists’ organisation CTC said it was broadly in favour of the Bill, but sounded a cautionary note regarding the consequent loss of an hour of daylight at the start of the day that would result, with Policy Co-ordinator Chris Peck telling road.cc: “CTC supports the principle of the Bill, which is to trial shifting times to align with Central European Time and Central European Summer Time.

“However, we are aware that this will mean a very large proportion of winter morning trips to school and work will take place in darkness, with possible extra risks to cyclists, particularly on icy roads. Nevertheless, we anticipate that those disadvantages are greatly exceeded by the benefits accruing from the impact of lighter evenings on the economy, environment and wider road safety.”

Commenting on the proposals Jason Torrance, Sustrans Policy Manager, said; 'Sustrans supports the Lighter Later proposals for a two year trial because its potential to cut UK carbon emissions - estimated by Lighter Later to be 447,000 tonnes every year - needs to be fully explored.

'A trial would help establish how the changes would affect everyday lives and most importantly for Sustrans, how it will affect everyday travel, and what impact this could have on the environment.'

Besides the safety implications, the adoption of the new daylight hours would also have implications for followers of pro cycling – live TV coverage of the big races on the Continent would be in line with the hours they were actually being run, which might help you get home from work in time to catch the end of a race, while if you wanted to take the Sunday morning Eurostar to Paris to catch the last stage of the Tour de France, you wouldn’t lose an hour on the way there.
 

11 user comments

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Hope they get somewhere with this, it's one of the major things that gets my goat about living in Britain. That and not having the 2018 World Cup to look forward too obviously.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4111 posts]
2nd December 2010 - 17:08

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I feel the opposite way - I tend to ride early in the morning, and getting up early is difficult enough with it as dark as it currently is! will be having to get one of those sunrise alarm clocks methinks...

posted by step-hent [634 posts]
2nd December 2010 - 20:16

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Not sure if I agree with this proposal! It means that I will be commuting to work in the dark the year round - yes I start work at 5 am and live in Glasgow!!! The extra hour in the evening will as I see it serve no purpose! In Britain we work the longest hours in Europe and many return home way after 5pm! Most people have no intrest on walks in the park during the winter as they would prefer to be in the warmth of their homes in the depths of the winter Big Grin I can understand the thinking behind it, but I feel that we will have more tired idiot drivers to deal with in the darker mornings!!!

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posted by giff77 [957 posts]
2nd December 2010 - 21:04

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It's not so much winter, (although for a lot of people in England it would mean that they would commute home in the light for most of the winter, and a great number of short haul city commuters would commute in in the light in the morning too), but it greatly extends the amount of daylight you get in the later part of the summer and the autumn so it would be light much later in to the evening.

Bottom line for me is that this benefits something like three quarters of the country's population and when it was tried back in the 70s it saved hundreds of lives every year so it seems madness not to do it.

Personally I don't have any problem with Scotland being in a different time zone either if that's what the Scots want – isn't that the sort of decision that devolution was all about anyway?

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4111 posts]
2nd December 2010 - 23:12

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tony_farrelly wrote:
Bottom line for me is that this benefits something like three quarters of the country's population and when it was tried back in the 70s it saved hundreds of lives every year

Is that an accurate statistic? I am sure I read only last month an argument that appears to undermine the basis of that proposed by those proposing the change.

Interesting that RoSPA's page suggests that "Motorists are more tired after a day's work and concentration levels are lower". I'd argue that sleepy drivers dreaming of their duvet and frosted windscreens make for increased risk in the dark of an early morning commute.

The RoSPA page also states that pedestrian deaths rose in 2008 but I don't understand how that is related to DST. I'll read the rest properly and see if it makes any sense.

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posted by Simon E [1775 posts]
3rd December 2010 - 11:29

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There's some interesting stats here on accidents by day, month and time of day. they're based on insurance claims, not injury data, but they appear to back up the claim that evening is a more risky time than morning...

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7028 posts]
3rd December 2010 - 11:41

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several issues are happening here - safety, health and enviroment.

On safety - yes, hopefully there will be a decrease in accidents in the afternoons and evenings which is what all the various bodies mentioned are hoping for. On the flip side though the more cynical side of me anticipates an increase in accidents in the mornings due to more tired barely wakened drivers still waiting for the caffine jolt!! Those of us who are old enough will remember the wearing of arm bands when this was last trialled when going to school and the darker mornings do not just apply to Scotland alone, most of North England will see sunrise at 9am at the height of winter as would Northern Ireland!

Health - the government is hoping that more people will take up exercise in the 'longer' autumn/spring evenings - as said before,the last thing most folk want to do after a long day at work is this and those who are exercising will be doing it all year round anyway.

Enviroment - sadly the DST will just re-gig the times people use up electric and the likes in their homes and probably end up using more power all round. I would also anticipate an increase in traffic regards the school run in the mornings creating more carbon immissions!!

Sorry it's a bit cynical - sadly it's the way I see it:( I think that it is more a line to bring our industry in line with that of mainland Europe and will make the roads much more dangerous for North England and Scotland!

In finishing, we need the sun to kick start our bodies in the mornings that will no longer be the case if DST went ahead.

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posted by giff77 [957 posts]
3rd December 2010 - 17:32

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giff77 - there are periods in winter when we don't get any sunlight. We get daylight, but it isn't much. You cannot rely on sunlight to wake you up in the winter (or in fact on any day!).

There are massive benefits to the UK in making this change and plenty of countries at higher latitudes than us are on CET/CEST.

As for it still being dark at 9am, that's going to be true only for a few days in December, those days presently will have twilight at 3:30pm so it's just the difference between going to school in the dark and coming home in the dark.

Cycling clubs would be able to run more evening events should this change go ahead.

If this adversely affected Scotland they can have their own time zone. It would make no sense for about 50 million English people (I don't know the exact figure, sorry) to lose out for the sake of a few million Scottish people. Don't get me wrong, I love Scottish people, I just couldn't eat a whole one...

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [275 posts]
3rd December 2010 - 19:41

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It would be a windfall for coffee carts and cafs.

bad news for duvet monkeys.

quick note to anyone who visits the campaign site: If you forward the support form on to friends they will get a very long letter bearing your signature instead of some snappy gif.

I

posted by Viro Indovina [75 posts]
3rd December 2010 - 20:06

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Why not just leave the clocks at BST all year. Seems to be a good compomise and we do not need to change our body clocks. There is no more light whatever we do with the clocks.
The evidence seems to indicate that the actual change of routine is significant in crashes. This proposal will not change that.

posted by Luddite [1 posts]
4th December 2010 - 11:35

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OK, So I get to commute both ways in the dark!?

What we need is less nannying and more flexibility so that schools, businesses and individual employees can choose travel times that suite them and their locality best. Why do we all have to travel at the same time for goodness sake?!

Metamer

posted by m.sandford [1 posts]
5th December 2010 - 21:46

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